Red-footed Tortoise

Chelonoidis carbonaria

Short Description

The red-footed tortoise is native to South America. They are named for the red scales present on their legs and head. Their shell is dark with yellow/red areas around each of the scutes (plates on the shell). Their skin is black.

About the Species

This animal is taken for food in much of its range.

Although not endangered, this tortoise species still faces many threats, including over collection for food and the pet trade in addition to habitat loss. When adult tortoises are taken out of the wild, the population may have a hard time recovering due to the long time it takes for tortoises to mature. When buying a animal such as a tortoise as a pet, always make sure to demand a captive-born individual, never an animal taken from the wild. Many more tortoises are taken out of the wild and die than ones that actually make it to the pet store.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Male tortoises have a concave belly to assist with reproduction, while females have a flat belly. This is why we thought our Program red footed tortoise was a male, and named "him" Robert. Turns out Robert is a female that just happens to have a concave belly, and so now she is Roberta!

Hilaire

Did You Know?

Tortoises do not have teeth. Instead, the edges of their mouth is sharpened and acts like a birds beak to help break off pieces of fruit, plant material, or grab an insect.

Facts

Origin

South America

Habitat

Dry forests, grasslands, and savannahs

Size

Average a foot in length

Diet

Fruit, plant material, flowers, carrion, invertebrates

Predators

Larger animals, humans (pet trade and habitat loss)

Natural Defenses

Shell

Reproduction

5–15 eggs per clutch

Status

Not endangered, but listed on CITES Appendix II

Life Expectancy

Up to 50 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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