Red-Footed Tortoise

Chelonoidis carbonaria

Scientific Name

Red-Footed Tortoise:  
Chelonoidis carbonaria

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The Red-footed tortoise is native to South America. It has also been introduced to many islands in the Caribbean.

Natural Habitat

The Red-foot occupies all types of forest habitat (rainforest, temperate forest, and dry thorn forest), and also dwells in savanna areas, including man-made grasslands resulting from ranching and slash-and-burn agricultural practices. Forest edges and savannas seem to be the preferred habitat for this species.

Physical Characteristics

  • Red-foot males are larger than females in carapace (the hard upper shell) length and weight, but are not wider or taller. Males can easily reach twenty pounds (9 kg) or more, while females weigh a bit less. As with other tortoise species, male Red-foots have a concave plastron (underside of shell). As Red-foots mature, both sexes develop an “hourglass” figure. Mature males also have longer and wider tails than females. They usually live 40–50 years.

Quick Facts

  1. In the wild, the Red-foot tortoise lays clutches of 5–15 eggs between July and September.

  2. This species is named due to the red, yellow, and orange scales on its limbs, head, and tail.


M&T Bank Rainforest Falls

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Red-Footed Tortoise is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Red-foot tortoises are herbivorous. In captivity, Red-foots should be fed a mixture of high calcium greens, fruits, vegetables, and flowers with a small amount of animal protein. Appropriate greens include dandelion greens, turnip greens, collard greens, endive and escarole lettuce, green leaf and red leaf lettuces, grape leaves, and hibiscus leaves.