Best 5 Chaco Tortoise Facts, Size, Hibernation, Diet

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Chaco tortoise

In today’s article, I am going to talk about another species of tortoise. If you have a sort of interest in discovering tortoises, then stay with me, and let’s discover together. We humans, almost each of us has nick-names, and some of us are called different names by our grandparents. Just like us, tortoises also have multiple names. Chaco tortoise is sometimes called “Argentine tortoise” or Patagonian tortoise, and sometimes, Southernwood tortoise. This species is native to South America. Along with it’s local names, in the dilemma of science, it is named as Chelonoidis chilensis.”

The fact behind its name

Having so many names Is a specialty in itself. However, there is always a reason behind a particular name given to animals. It is called an Argentine tortoise because these tortoises are mainly found in Argentina, and thus named on their native habitat. 

Chaco tortoise 1

Chaco tortoise classification

Lets have a look at its classification: 

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Scientific Name Chelonoidis chilensis
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order  Testudines
Suborder Cryptodira
Superfamily Testudinoidea
Family Testudinidae
Genus Chelonoidis
Species C. chilensis
Diet  Herbivores
Lifespan  20 years.
Incubation period  125 to 365 days.  
Trophic level Herbivores
Length  25 to 43.4 cm

Chaco tortoise physical appearance

Each of us has a certain level of toxicity with beauty. We all are shined up, and bloomed when we see something beautiful. This tortoise also has an eye-catching look and adores its visitor. Within each scute on its carapace surface, there are rings of brown to dark-brown color. Along the seams of each scute, there is a dark-colored triangular wedge. Heads, and tails follow the same color, a mix of grey and yellow. 

Chaco tortoise size

These tortoises are scattered from southern regions to northern areas. According to researchers, tortoises found in southern areas are much larger than those found in northern areas. However, to be precise, on average, its carapace has a length of 25 cm, it can go up to 43.4 cm. There is nothing known about Chaco tortoise weight, but it is a moderately sized tortoise. 

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Chaco tortoise facts

Let’s dig into some facts about these tortoises:

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  1. When in aggression, these tortoises can flip each other over to their shells. 
  2. These tortoises are similar to red-footed and yellow-footed tortoises.
  3. When these tortoises are kept in the form of groups, they require the enclosure of a minimum of 150x75x30 cm.
  4. These tortoises can eat up to 90 minutes in one shot i.e. without any interruption and break.
  5. In winter, the temperature of their enclosure should not be less than 25oC.

Chaco tortoise diet

These tortoises are herbivorous in nature, thus it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Chaco tortoise food mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, shrubs, cactus pads, and grasses. However, different diet plans are used by pet owners of this species. If you don’t know one, don’t worry, I’ll tell you. Let’s dig into it!

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What to feed your Chaco tortoise?

Feeding your tortoise is not an easy task, you should select carefully what food to give your tortoise. You can provide them greens such as collards, kale, spinach, mustard, opuntia, turnip, alfalfa, and many more. Flowers can be of the following types: nasturtium, roses, and hibiscus. Vegetables can consist of carrots, squashes, beans, and corn. Make sure one thing, the food you are giving your tortoise should be powdered with multivitamin and calcium supplements. Also, there should be a bowl filled with water inside their closure.

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Chaco tortoise lifespan

Very little is known about exactly how long these tortoises live, but somehow, it is believed that they can live up to 20 years, which is very less compared to other tortoises. Hence, it is not a rule of thumb, they may live longer than this. 

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Population threat

Since 1988, these tortoises have been listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN red list of threatened species, due to illegal pet trade, conversion of land, deforestation, destruction of habitat, and road kills Don’t forget to add hunting by humans. Wild goats have been the reason for overgrazing in their habitat, thus leaving decreased food and vegetation for them to feed on, and making it easier for the predators to locate them. 

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Chaco tortoise habitat

These tortoises prefer to live in dry areas. Most of them are found in savannas and desert scrubland. Its presence has also been observed in areas like a thorn, deciduous woodlands, and scrub brush. Thus, the vegetations on which these tortoises mostly feed are near to their burrows inside of whom they live. 

Chaco tortoise hibernation

According to some resources, these tortoises do hibernate, while some researchers have a conflict at this point. According to them, during winter, they spend most of the time in semi-dormancy and do not fully-hibernate.

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Chaco tortoise mating

Mating season starts at the end of the year usually in the months of November and December. During mating, if two males, unfortunately, confront each other, then the situation can be worse and transforms into a battlefield. Both opposition parties fight for their mating rights. The winning party mates with the female, and the loser one leaves the area. I know, it feels awkward. Although, these tortoises have low reproduction rates.

Chaco tortoise baby

After the mating is done, mother tortoises lay down eggs between January and March. One to six eggs are hatched per clutch. Incubation period can last 125 to 365 days, or maybe even longer than this. After the incubation period is completed, hatchlings come out of their eggshells breaking them with their head.

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Chaco tortoise care

Owning a pet is like adding a new member to your family. We all do care for our family members, the same as that, pet owners take care of their beloved pets. However, these tortoises are to take-care. If you are owning a tortoise soon, and don’t know what precautions you should take while keeping this tortoise. Don’t worry! It is not a hard row to hoe!

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Chaco tortoise 3

Chaco tortoise enclosure

In the summer season, these tortoises don’t require any specific temperature setup, and thus you can maintain their setup outdoors during the daytime. After the sun is set, transfer them to the indoors. During the winter season, they should be kept indoors all the time. Besides this, inside their enclosure, there should be light, and heater to balance the cold temperature. 

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