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Red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria)

Red-footed tortoise
Red-footed tortoise

Personal information
Koopa is the name of our male red-footed tortoise. He loves to eat grapes!

Status in the wild
Red-foots are protected under Appendix II of the CITES, meaning they may not be exported from its home country without a permit. In every country in its range, the biggest threat to the survival of the red-footed tortoise is hunting by man. 

Habitat
The red-footed tortoise is found throughout extreme southern Central America, and central and northern South America including the countries of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.  Red-foots are commonly found in relatively-dry grassland and forests areas. They can also be found in humid forest habitat. 

Diet

The forest habitat provides the red-foot with an abundance of fallen fruits such as wild plum.  It also eats wild mushrooms, vines, grasses, succulents and carrion, and is attracted to yellow and red flowers.

  • Red-footed tortoises can reach up to about 20 pounds, with males being a little heavier than females.
  • They can live up to 50 years!
  • Red feet help males attract females - the brighter the color, the more impressive a mate!
  • While habitat loss is increasingly a problem for these animals, overhunting is the most common cause of population decrease.
  • Tortoises are hunted for food and for their shells.