The Red Footed Tortoise originates from central and northern South America. and Central America. It has also been introduced to several Caribbean islands.
They are a medium sized tortoise. The males are larger with a very concave plastron. The males also have a narrower mid section giving the appearance of a waist. Color is variable. Some have intense red scales on the legs (hence the name) and head. Others are more yellow. In adults the carapace scutes are very dark brown to black with a yellow center. Hatchlings shells are more yellowish brown.
In the wild Red Footed Tortoises are found in a variety of environments from dry grasslands to humid forests. There seems to some disagreement as to which habitat they prefer. However mine seem to prefer more shady wet areas. In the summer they seem to be happiest submerged in a mud puddle. They are most active during and after a rainstorm. This often stimulates breeding.
Red Footed Tortoises are primarily herbivorous, though they are known to eat carrion as well as any bug they can catch. Here I have seen them devour slugs, worms and pill bugs.
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Stay tuned. Video coming soon!
Here are a few fun facts:
- The biggest threat to the survival of red-footed tortoises is overhunting by man.
- Turtles tend to have webbed feet for swimming and a streamlined body shape.
- From the top or front, the easiest way to identify the a red footed tortoise from a yellow footed tortoise species is by noting the scales on their heads. Yellow footed tortoises have long scales on the top of their head close to the nostrils and the frontal scale is fragmented.