Bibliography- Books

[Editor’s note: The heart of this list was originally published at by Art De Lamerens. It is reprinted here with permission. It has been reorganized to suit the needs of this site, and many books have been added.]

While no list will ever be complete, perfect, or up-to-date, here is a starter list of books that touch on turtles and tortoises- cares, biology, evolution, etc. Many of these books are referenced elsewhere in the Library.

Want a list of books by region or species?- Regional Bibliography

  1. Ackerman, Lowell. The Biology, Husbandry and Health Care of Reptiles (3 Volumes Set). TFH Publications, 1997. ISBN 079380504X.
  2. Alderton, David and W. Nigel Bonner. Turtles and Tortoises of the World (Of the World Series). Facts On File, 2003. ISBN 0816052158.
  3. Andrews, Robin M., John E. Cadle.Herpetology. Prentice Hall, 1997. ISBN 0138508763.
  4. Ashton,
    Ray E. and Patricia S. Ashton.
    Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida: Part 2 Lizards, Turtles, & Crocodilians. Windward Publishing, 1985. ISBN 0893170364.
  5. Bartlett, Richard D. and Patricia Bartlett. Turtles and Tortoises (Barron’s Complete Pet Owner’s Manuals) Barrons, 2006. ISBN 0764134000.
  6. Behler John.L. The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, 1979. ISBN 0394508246.
  7. Bonin, Franck and Bernard Deavaux, Alain Dupre, Peter C. H. Pritchard, Peter C. H. (translator). Turtles of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. ISBN 
  • Ed. note- This is a great reference to all the known species, although there is very little about any one species. Pritchard”s Encyclopedia of Turtles is better in many ways, but is also much older.
  • Boycott,
    Richard C and Ortwin Bourquin. The South African Tortoise Book: A Guide to South African Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles. Southern Book Publishers, 1988. ISBN 186812052X.
  • Branch, Bill. Tortoises, Terrapins & Turtles of Africa. Struick Publishers, 2008.ISBN 1770074635.
  • Carr, Archie. Handbook of Turtles: The Turtles of the United States, Canada, and Baja California (Comstock Classic Handbooks). Cornell University Press, 1995. ISBN 0801400643.
  • Case, Russ. Turtles & Tortoises (Beginning Vivarium Systems). Advanced Vivarium Systems, 2007. ISBN 1882770935.
  • Chambers, Paul.A Sheltered Life: The Unexpected History of the Giant Tortoise. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0195223969.
  • Conant, Roger. A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America (Peterson Field Guide Series). Houghton Mifflan Harcourt, 1998. ISBN 0395904528.
  • Das, Idraneil. Colour Guide to the Turtles & Tortoises of the Indian Subcontinent. Serpent’s Tale, 1991. ISBN 1872688020.
  • De Vosjoli, Phillippe. The Art of Keeping Snakes (Advanced Vivarium Systems). AVS Books 2004. ISBN 
    • Ed. note- lots of great info on keeping reptiles in a naturalistic habitat, even if little applies directly to tortoises.
  • De Vosjoli, Phillippe. Popular Tortoises (Advanced Vivarium Systems). AVS Books, 1996. ISBN 
  • Ditmars, Raymond L. Reptiles of the World. Cosmo Publications, 2003. ISBN 8170204569.
  • Ebenhack, Amanda. Health Care & Rehabilitation of Turtles and Tortoises. Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group, 2012. ISBN 0978755650.
  • Ebenhack, Amanda. Redfoots
    and Yellowfoots; The Natural History, Captive Care, and Breeding of
    ‘Chelonoidis carbonaria’ and ‘Chelonoidis denticulata’ (Turtles of the
    World, Testudinidae, Number 3)

    . Living Art Publishing, 2009. ISBN 

  • Ernst, C.H. and Roger W. Barbour. Turtles of the World.
    Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 1992. ISBN 1560982128.
  • Ferri, Vincenzo. Turtles and Tortoises. Firefly Books, 2002. ISBN 1552096319.
  • Fife,
    Jerry D. Star Tortoises: The Natural History, Captive Care, and Breeding of ‘Geochelone elegans‘ and ‘Geochelone platynota (Turtles of the World, Testudinidae, Number 10). Living Art Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0978755626
  • Fife,
    Richard and Jerry D. Fife. Leopard
    Tortoise: The Natural History, Captive Care, and Breeding of
    ‘Stigmochelys pardalis (Turtles of the World, Testudinidae, Number 4)
    Serpent’s Tale, 2006. ISBN 0963813064.
  • Franklin, Carl J. Turtles: An Extraordinary Natural History 245 Million Years in the Making
    Voyaguer Press, 2007. ISBN 0760329818.
    • Ed. note- This is a great overview on turtles in general and beautifully illustrated.
  • Frieberg, Dr. Marcos Turtles of South America. TFH Publications, 1981.
  • Frye, Frederick L. Husbandry, Medicine & Surgery in Captive Reptiles. Veterinary Med Publishing, 1973. ISBN 999566495X.
  • Gerlach,
    Justin. Giant Tortoises of the Indian Ocean, The Genus ‘Dipsochelys‘ Inhabiting the Seychelles Islands and the Extinct Giants of Madagascar and the Mascarenes. Edition Chimaira, 2004. ISBN 3930612631.
  • Girling, Simon.Pet Owner’s Guide to the Tortoise. Ringpress Books, 2003. ISBN 1860541194.
  • Goin, C. J.; Goin, O. B.; Zug, G. R. Introduction to Herpetology. W. H. Freeman, 1978. ISBN 0716700204.
  • Goode, John. Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles. Angus and Robertson, 1971. ISBN 0207122431.

  • Highfield, Andy C. Keeping and Breeding Tortoises in Captivity. Tortoise Trust, 1990.
  • Highfield, Andy C. Practical Encyclopedia of Keeping and Breeding Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Kreiger Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1873943067.
  • Highfield, Andy C. and Nadine Highfield. Tortoises: A Beginner’s Guide to Tortoise Care. TFH Publications, 2008. ISBN 0793806747.
  • Hume, Ivor Noel. Tortoises Terrapins & Turtles (A Foyles Handbook). Foyles, 1975. ISBN 0707100283.
  • Jepson, Lance. Mediterranean Tortoises. Kingdom Books, 2006. ISBN 1852792299.
  • Joyce, W.G. and H. V. Karl. Fossil Turtle Research, Vol 1. St. Petersburg, Russian Journal of Herpetology, 2006.
  • King, Wayne; Burke, Russell (Eds.). Crocodilian, Tuatara, and Turtle Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Natural Sciences Collection Alliance, 1989. ISBN 0942924150.
  • Kuzmin, Sergius L. Turtles of Russia and Other Ex-Soviet Republics. Edition Chimaira, 2002. ISBN
  • Lehrer, John. Turtles and Tortoises. Bdd Promotional Book, 1990. ISBN 0792452909.
  • Levell, John P. A Field Guide to Reptiles and the Law. Kreiger Publiching, 1998. ISBN 1885209061.
  • Liat, Lim Boo and Indraneil Das. Turtles of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia. Natural History Publications (Borneo) 1999. ISBN 9838120391.
  • Liner,
    Ernest A. Scientific and Common Names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish, 1st Ed. SSAR, 1994. ISBN 091698432X.
  • Mader, Douglas R., MS, DVM, ed. Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Saunders Elsevier, 2nd Edition 2006. ISBN 072169327X
  • Maung, Win and Win Ko Ko. Turtles & Tortoises of Myanmar Wildlife Conservation Society, 2002. ASIN B0010EI0HA.
  • McArthur, Stuart, Roger Wilkinson and Jeane Meyer.Medicine and Surgery of Tortoises and Turtles. Wiley Blackwell, 2004.ISBN 1405108894.
  • Means, D. Bruce. Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology. Pineapple Press, 2008. ISBN 1561644331.
  • Mitchell, J. C., R. E. Jung Brown and, B. Bartholomew. Urban Herpetology. SSAR, 2008. ISBN 0916984796.
  • Murphy, James, Kraig Adler, Joseph T. Collins and James B. Murphy (eds). Captive Management Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles (Contributions to herpetology). SSAR, 1994. ISBN 0916984338. 
  • Nicholls, Henry. Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of the World’s Most Famous Tortoise. Pan McMillan, 2007. ISBN 0330450115.
    • Ed. note- This si a great book that touches on several aspects of tortoises and other wild animals and the challenges they face today.
  • Obst, Fritz Jürgen. Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins. St. Martin’s Press, 1988. ISBN 0312823622.
  • Orenstein, Ronald. Survivors in Armor: Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins. Firefly Books, 2004. ISBN 155209605X.
  • Orenstein, Ronald. Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins: A Natural History. Firefly Books, 2012. ISBN 1770851194.
  • Palika, Liz. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Turtles & Tortoises (The Complete Idiot’s Guide). Alpha Books, 1997. ISBN 0876051433.
  • Palika, Liz. Turtles & Tortoises For Dummies. For Dummies, 2001. ISBN 0764553135.
  • Paull, Richard C.Aldabran Tortoise Expert’s Guide. Vol. 5. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN 1-888089-31-8.
  • Paull, Richard C.The Delicate Yellow-foot Tortoise. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN  1-888089-44-X.
  • Paull, Richard C.The Eight Great Tortoises. Vol. 1. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1996. ISBN 1-888089-44-X.
  • Paull, Richard C.Galapagos Tortoise Expert’s Guide- Vol. 6. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN 1-888089-38-5.
  • Paull, Richard C.Great AfricanSpur-thighed [sic] or Sulcata Tortoise. Vol. 3. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1996. 1-888089-22-9.
  • Paull, Richard C.Great Red-foot Tortoise- Vol. 4. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN 1-888089-37-7.
  • Paull, Richard C. Mediterranean Tortoises. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN 1-888089-44-X.
  • Paull, Richard C.Small and Medium Tortoises. Vol. 2. The. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1997. ISBN 1-888089-25-3.
  • Paull, Richard C.Turtles, Twenty Remarkable. Sumterville FL.: Green Nature Books, 1999. ISBN 1-888089-44-X.
  • Pedrono, Miguel. The Tortoises and Turtles of Madagascar Natural History Publications, 2008. ISBN 983812124X.
  • Pickwell, Gayle. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific States.  Dover Publications, 1972. ISBN 0486216861.
  • Pingleton, Mike. The Redfoot Manual: A Beginner’s Guide To The Redfoot Tortoise. Art Gecko Press, 2009. ISBN 1441494030.
  • Pirog, E. J.Russian Tortoises (Complete Herp Care). TFH Publications, 2006. ISBN 0793828821.
  • Porter, Kenneth R. Herpetology. W. B. Saunders, 1972. ISBN 0721672957.
  • Pough, F. Harvey and Robin M. Andrews. Herpetology (3rd Edition) Benjamin Cummings, 2003.ISBN 0131008498.
  • Pritchard, Peter C. H. Encyclopedia of Turtles. TFH Publications, 1979. ISBN 0876669186.
  • Pritchard, Peter C.H. Living Turtles of the World. TFH Publications, 1967. ISBN 0876662289.
  • Pritchard, Peter C. H. and Pedro Trebbau. Turtles of Venezuela (Contributions to Herpetology). SSAR, 1984. ISBN 0916984117.
  • Rogner, Manfred. European Pond Turtles (Chelonian Library #4). Edition Chimaira, 2009.ISBN 3899736044.
  • Schmidt, Karl P. and Robert F. Inger. Living Reptiles of the World. Doubleday, 1975. ISBN 038501726X.
  • Schneider, Rebecca and Marianne Krasny, Stephen J. Morreale. Hands-On Herpetology: Exploring Ecology and Conservation.  Nat’l Science Teachers Assoc., 2002. ISBN 0873551974.
  • Sharma, R.C. and B. K. Tikader. Handbook of Indian Testudines. Calcutta: Zoological Survey, 1985.
  • Sowerby, James and Edward Lear. Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles Drawn From Life. 1872. Reprinted by Nabu Press, 2011. ISBN 1245420704.
  • Stanford, Craig B.The Last Tortoise: A Tale of Extinction in Our Lifetime. Belknap Press, 2011. ISBN 0674049926.
  • Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians (Peterson Field Guides). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. ISBN 0395982723.
  • Thomson, James Stewart. The Anatomy of the Tortoise
    . Bibliomania, 1932. ISBN 1932871101.
  • Tyning, Thomas F. A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles (Stokes Nature Guides). Little, Brown, 1990. ISBN 0316817139.
  • Van Denburgh, John. The Gigantic Land Tortoises Of The Galapagos Archipelago….1914, reprinted by Nabu Press 2007. ISBN 1277199744.
  • Van Devender, Thomas. R.The
    Sonoran Desert Tortoise: Natural History, Biology, and Conservation
    (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Studies in Natural History)
    . University of Arizona Press, 2006. ISBN 0816526060.
  • Vetter, Holger. Hermann’s Tortoise, Boettger’s and Dalmatian Tortoises: Testudo boettgeri, hercegovinensis and hermanni (Chelonian Library, Volume 2). Edition Chimaira, 2006. ISBN 3899736028.
  • Vetter, Holger. Leopard and African Spurred Tortoise: ‘Stigmochelys pardalis and Centrochelys sulcata’ (Chelonian Library, Volume 1). Edition Chimaira, 2005. ISBN 389973601X.
  • Vetter, Holger. Turtles of the World: Africa, Europe and Western Asia. Terralog, Vol. 1. Aqualog Verlag, 2011. ISBN 3930612275.
  • Vetter, Holger. Turtles of the World: North America. Terralog, Vol. 2 Aqualog Verlag, 2004. ISBN 3930612577.
  • Vetter, Holger. Turtles of the World: Central and South America. Terralog, Vol. 3. Aqualog Verlag, 2005. ISBN 3936027609.
  • Vetter, Holger and Peter Paul van Dijk.Turtles of the World: East and South Asia. Terralog, Vol. 4. Aqualog Verlag, 2006.
  • Vinke, Thomas, Sabine Vinke, Holger Vetter and Susane Vetter. South American Tortoises, ‘Chelonoidis Carbonaria, C. Denticulata and C. Chilensis’ (Chelonian Library #3). Chimera Edition, 2008. ISBN 3899736036.
    • Ed. note- Perhaps the best book on the mainland South American species I have seen.
  • Vitt, Laurie
    J.; Caldwell, Janalee P. Herpetology, Third Edition: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, 2008. ISBN 012374346X.
  • Wegenhaupt, Wolfgang. Naturalistic keeping and breeding of Hermann’s Tortoises. Self-published, 2009. ISBN 3980977447.
  • Wyneken, Jeannete. Biology of Turtles: From Structures to Strategies of Life. CRC Press, 2007. ISBN ISBN-10: 0849333393.
  • Zych, Jifi, Ond ej Hes, Jan Hnizdo and Nikola Pantchev (eds.) Medical Care of Turtles and Tortoises, Diagnosis, Therapy, Husbandry, Prevention. Edition Chimaira, 2011. ISBN 3899734939.
  • Related Non-Fiction


    • Dahl, Roald. Esio Trot. – a sweet love story played through a tortoise. Definitely not a care guide! 🙂
    • Pratchet, Terry. Discworld books. – features a world carried on the back of the mighty A’Tuin, the ‘Astrochelonian’.*
    • Pratchet, Pratchet. Small Gods. – a Discworld book in which a god ends up in the body of a small tortoise.*
    • Lawrence, D. H.Tortoises. 1921.
    • Geisel, Theodor (Dr. Seuss).Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories.

    [Editor’s note 5: No list of books or media will ever be complete. If you see something that needs to be added, email me (see ‘About the site‘), or just use this list as a starting point for your own search.]


    Edited May 28, 2013 by Mark Adkins. Original list is (C) Art De Lamerens