Best 8 Red Footed tortoise Facts, Size, Diet, Weight

Red Footed tortoise

This tortoise with a fascinating eye-catching look and medium size has different names in different languages with the same meaning. In the lingo of science, it is known as Chelonoidis carbonarius.” Its other common names are the red-legged, the savanna tortoise, and has some local names like Karumbe and jabuti also. 

The fact behind its name

It’s ok to have so many names but there is always a reason behind. So, why is this tortoise called Red-footed? The reason is so obvious! It has red legs, but it’s not guaranteed, they might turn their color into some other color. “Karumbe” means slow-moving, and finally “Jabuti” which means both the red-footed tortoise or the yellow-footed tortoise.

Red Footed tortoise 1

Red Footed tortoise vs Yellow-Footed tortoise

These tortoises are always mixed by their owners and buyers as they don’t have significant differences. However, they have a difference in their legs which is not guaranteed every time as it may change in some cases. Both of them are South-American tortoises. Yellow-Footed is the larger of the two, but its drinking and soaking tendency is less than Red-footed which has a concentric grooving. 

Red-Footed tortoise classification

Lets have a look at its classification: 

Scientific Name Chelonoidis carbonarius
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order  Testudines
Suborder Cryptodira
Superfamily Testudinoidea
Family Testudinidae
Genus Chelonoidis
Species C. carbonarius
Diet  Herbivores
Lifespan  50 years.
Weight 9 kg.
Incubation period  120 to 190 days.  
Trophic level Herbivores
Length  12 to 16 inches

Red Footed tortoise physical appearance

The carapace surface of these tortoises has dark-colored loaf-shaped shells. Each scute has a lighter patch in its middle portion. It has dark limbs whose color turns from pane yellow to dark red. Its shell follows an elongated oval shape with almost parallel sides. These sides in males sometimes shaped inwards. Unlike most of the tortoises, its carapace is not dome-shaped but rather flat. 

Red Footed tortoise size

This tortoise doesn’t have massive, and giant size like giant tortoises rather they are medium-sized. How big do red-footed tortoises get? Males are slightly larger than females and can have a length of 13.5 inches. Whereas, females with an average length of 11.25 inches are smaller. Its excellent size is the reason behind its popularity as a pet.

Red Footed tortoise weight

When you see it at first glance, you might have thought of its weight to be 20 pounds which are correct! These tortoises have an average weight of no more than 9 kg. However, its weight varies with region. The largest known specimen of this tortoise was recorded to have a weight of 28 kg. 

Red Footed tortoise facts

  1. Unlike other tortoises, these tortoises do not hibernate. 
  2. During the winter, their active time is decreased and they rest inside their nests.
  3. They are one of the long-lived animals and can live up to 50 years.
  4. If you want to own it, then Red-footed tortoise prices range from $150 to $500. 
  5. The humidity of 50% and 70% is perfect for them, and to maintain it a pan of water near them is required.

Red Footed tortoise diet

Being herbivores, they eat grasses, but sometimes Red-footed tortoise food can also be an animal-matter, such as invertebrates in small amounts. Most of their diet has a larger portion of leaves, grasses, fungi, fruits, and flowers.

Red Footed tortoise diet list

If you have this tortoise as a pet, and you don’t know what to feed them, then don’t worry, I will tell you the diet adopted by some tortoise owners which would be beneficial. 

What to feed your Red Footed tortoise?

A larger portion of the diet should consist of dark leafy greens and wider-leaf graze. Chopped vegetables, berries, fruits, and some amount of hay would be a plus point. Every one to two weeks, don’t forget to give them animal protein such as low-fat dry dog food. Once in a week, the dust of calcium carbonate or calcium gluconate supplement on an adult’s diet would help them to maintain calcium in their bodies. 

Red-Footed tortoise lifespan

Their average life span is observed to be 25 to 35 years, but they can even live longer than this, thus up to 50 years. Their life span is highly dependent on how frequent they are in saving their lives from predators and to survive population threats. Let’s have a look at them!

Red Footed tortoise

Population threat

One of the population threats is their being sold illegally as pets. Humans have always been the reason behind their threat to life. However, their eggs and hatchlings are most vulnerable to other animals such as wild cats and dogs.

Are red footed tortoises endangered? 

This tortoise is under the list of not-yet-evaluated by the world’s leading conservation organization (IUCN). However, there are some permits imposed on their export from their home country. Their conservation through national parks and private reserves is being done by several organizations. 

Red Footed tortoise habitat

These tortoises are disseminated throughout South America, ranging from Panama to Argentina. Besides this, they are seen on the Trinidad and Barbados’s Caribbean islands. They love to live in the dry, arid, and wet areas of forests, savanna, and grasslands. Unlike other tortoises, these do not hibernate in winter. 

Can two red footed tortoises live together? 

Tortoises are usually solitary in nature, but this one is actually calm and can live with another tortoise, but only when the enclosure in which they are living is large enough, and resources such as food, and dry and wet areas are available to both.

Red Footed tortoise mating

During the wet season in April and May, these tortoises start to mate. But it differs with the region. They direct each other towards courting sites under trees, where they mate. If unluckily! Two males confront each other, then the situation goes totally out of control. They try to flip each other, the one who fails will leave the areas. 

Incubation period

After the five to six weeks of mating, the to-be-mother tortoise starts to look out for a place suitable for nesting. Digging is not an easy process though, it takes several hours especially when the soil is hard. In such a case, the female even urinates over the soil to make it moist and soft, and then afterward, she starts digging up to 20cm deep. After the nest has been dug, it will lay eggs every 90 seconds. The incubation period lasts 120 to 190 days.

Red Footed tortoise baby

Eggs of this tortoise are round spherical and weigh about 50 grams. Per clutch, 5 to 15 eggs are laid. After the incubation period is completed, babies with the help of egg teeth break the eggshell. These babies have a carapace of 3.6 to 6.3 cm. 

How can I tell if my Red-footed tortoise is male or female?

It’s difficult to find out if your tortoise is a baby tortoise, but if it is a fully grown adult, then by the help of its length, you can get a click of whether it is a male or female. Males are generally larger than females, and if your tortoise is 13 to 16 inches long, then it must be a male tortoise and less than that would be a female tortoise. 

How can you tell the age of a Red-footed tortoise?

There is not any specific gauge to find out your tortoise age, but a technique is used, but no one knows, to how much extent it is valid and authentic. But let me tell you, according to some people, by counting the rings on a tortoise carapace surface, and then dividing it by 2, the concluding answer will be your tortoise age. 

How fast do red-footed tortoises grow? 

Their growth is observed to be very fast during the first 10 years of their age and after that, it slows down gradually. Females with even 9 inches of length can be sexually matured. 

Red Footed tortoise as a pet

With its perfect size, this tortoise seems to be an ideal pet. Its colored marking amplifies its demand as a pet. However, besides all of its beauty, you are the one who should be committed to it as it is a very long-lived animal. 

Is a Red Footed tortoise a good pet?

As I said, they make perfect pets! They are just amazing, everyone wants to have them and that is because they are calm, and are not very resistant towards cold as most of the other tortoises do. 

Red Footed tortoise 3

Do Red footed tortoises like to be handled?

No! as most of the tortoises, these tortoises do not like to be handled and are docile, and solitary in nature plus easy going. Be careful while carrying them in your hand, they can even bite you, but that doesn’t happen usually until it is confused between finger and food.

Red Footed tortoise behavior

These tortoises are really cute, and calm, especially when they are kept in captivity and it might be because of change in their habitat. In the wild, its behavior is aggressive in mating but otherwise is calm all the time. 

Red Footed tortoise care

When you own a pet, you must be careful about how you take care of your pet. But the question is how can you take care of your tortoise? Let me tell you, try to provide them with the habitat resembling their native habitat as much as you can, and give them proper food high in fiber and less in protein. 

Red Footed tortoise 4

Red-Footed tortoise enclosure

The enclosure is the place where your tortoise is kept in captivity. So, it must not be too confined that could make them aggressive. If you use proper length, and lights, a heat source and maintain the humidity, you will notice they will adapt to it and you will not be required to look after them every second. 16-inch high enclosure walls are perfect for them. But 4 feet by 8 feet would be a plus as larger is always better. 

Red Footed tortoise temperature

They can live like normal until the temperature doesn’t go lower than 80 F. In this case, you need to add a heat source as the lower temperatures can cause infection or hypothermia.

Red Footed tortoise 5

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