The Red-Footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonarius) is a medium-sized land chelonian reptile.
The Red-Footed Tortoise has a dark-coloured, oval-shaped, high-domed shell, called a carapace. The carapace has a lighter patch in the middle of each scute (scale). The undershell, called the plastron, is pale. It has pale-yellow to dark-red scales on its head and neck, whith males having more coloured scales. It has a small head with large black eyes. Its upper jaw is slightly hooked, and it has 15-20 teeth. It has stumpy, thick, short legs with four claws on its front legs and five claws on its back legs.
It grows to about 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.
It is native to the northern parts of South America, from Panama to Venezuela, and parts of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. It is also found on several Caribbean Islands. It prefers savannahs and the edge of forests.
The Red-Footed Tortoise is omnivorous, eating plants, fruit, grass, flowers, fungi, dead animals, and insects. Its predators include jaguars.
The female lays 2-7 eggs, which hatch after 105-202 days. The hatchlings have a sharp egg tooth, which they use to break open the egg. They are born dark-coloured, and grow quickly, gradually gaining their adult colours.
[Location of photographs:Tashkent Zoo,Uzbekistan]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM