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Red-Footed Tortoise

Chelonoidis Carbonaria
Conservation Status: 
Not Evaluated (Data Deficient)
Northern South America
Rainforest, Dry Forest, and Savannah

Red-footed Tortoises primarily feed on on fruits and seed pods. They consume the entire fruit, and the seeds, passed through their feces, can germinate, making them crucial for seed dispersal. Additionally, they feed on flowers, leaves, roots, grasses, and shoots from various plants. They will also opportunistically feed on bugs, fungi, small animals, and even feces from other animals like foxes.

Red-footed Tortoises can stay still for weeks in a row. These tortoises have a relatively slow metabolism, which contributes to their tendency to rest for extended periods. Their average speed while foraging is 5 to 20 meters per hour, and they can zoom up to 100 meters per hour when needed.

Red-footed Tortoises have a large shell that protects their head, feet, and body from predators. This is called a carapace, and it is made of bone covered with keratin. They can also seek out sheltered burrows to avoid predators.

Shelter helps them in other ways as well. To cool down, Red-footed Tortoises can press their shells against moist and cool surfaces in burrows. To warm up, they can move on top of their shelter to catch sunlight.

These tortoises are individualistic and often search for specific types of shelters, leaving scent trails that they or others can follow. Interestingly, Red-footed Tortoises do not require sunlight for vitamin D3 production, unlike other tortoise species.

Breeding behavior involves courtship rituals, with males and females producing clucking sounds. Females actively search for suitable spots of dirt to lay their eggs. They urinate on the chosen location to soften the dirt, making it easier to dig. Using their hind feet, they create a hole and lay their eggs inside, carefully manipulating them with their hind feet. The nest is then covered and camouflaged by the female using her body. The average incubation period for the eggs is approximately 125 days.

Red-footed Tortoises are declining due to hunting for food and the pet trade.

The can live up to 50 years.