Hatching success, egg incubation, emergence and hatchling characteristics were assessed for 44 naturally incubating nests of Testudo graeca in south-western Spain. Nest predation rate was 4.5% and overall hatching success was 82.4%. Incubation periods ranged from 78 to 114 days, and hatchlings delayed emergence from the nest from one to 23 days. Emergences occurred from mid August to late September, and were not correlated with nesting dates, but earlier laid nests had longer incubation times, which was probably owing to lower temperatures experienced by clutches laid at the beginning of the nesting season. Variance of hatchling body size and mass was high and was mainly influenced by the gravid female. Mean straight carapace length was 34.14mm, and mean body mass 10.8g. Hatchlings from clutches laid last in the nesting season had significantly better physical condition. Hatchling mass was positively correlated with egg mass, and both variables were positively correlated with emergence date. Both better physical condition and relatively late emergence may confer advantages to hatchlings in the face of unfavourable environmental conditions in autumn.