Table of Contents
ISRN Veterinary Science
Volume 2014, Article ID 798273, 6 pages
Research Article

Do Handling and Transport Stress Influence Adrenocortical Response in the Tortoises (Testudo hermanni)?

Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy

Received 9 December 2013; Accepted 30 December 2013; Published 20 February 2014

Academic Editors: K.-P. Brüssow, J. Foreman, and S. Whisnant

Copyright © 2014 Esterina Fazio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The goal of this study was to analyze circulating cortisol levels from tortoises (Testudo hermanni) to establish reference intervals and to develop guidelines for the interpretation of the effect of handling and transport stress. Blood samples were obtained from the caudal venous from 23 healthy juvenile tortoises (9 males and 14 females), aged 8–20 years, in basal condition, four weeks prior to and four weeks following handling and short transportation. The study was carried out on the experimental group: 10 tortoises, 4 males and 6 females, and on a control group: 13 tortoises, 5 males and 8 females. Compared to basal values, circulating cortisol concentrations was higher after handling and transport (+286%; ), with an increase of +246% ( ) in males, +236% ( ) in females, +370% ( ) in subjects aged 8–12 years, and +240% ( ) in subjects aged 13–20 years. These observations support the hypotheses that cortisol may act to mediate the effects of handling and transport stress in this species and that four weeks following handling and transport were insufficient to restore their homeostasis.