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Reptile Rapture,
6308 Monona Dr, Monona WI 53516
608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Names: Red foot tortoise
Scientific Name: Chelonoidis carbonaria
Origin: Northern South America
Size: 12" - 14""
Lifespan: 50+ years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.

The red foot tortoise is quite popular in the pet trade. It's fairly easy to find captive-bred tortoises from reputable reptile stores or breeders.

Red foots are similar to yellow foot tortoises. The color variations of both can vary widely. The yellows tend to be flatter and wider than reds. Yellows also have longer scales near the nose.

The red foot tortoise lives in the grasslands and forest areas around the edge of the Amazon Basin. In captivity, large secure outdoor enclosures are ideal if you live in a warm humid climate. They like to move around so you'll need a minimum space of about 9 square feet per adult. Indoors, the larger the space the better. A custom built enclosure of 6" x 4" is the minimum size required with 16" walls. But it is important to let your tortoise out to explore in your home. They don't like being cooped up.

You should line the enclosure with a good substrate like sphagnum moss and cypress mulch. Soil and sand can be mixed in sparingly. Keep it clean by spot cleaning whenever they go to the bathroom.

Provide a hide, plants, and other cover. Slabs of bark, hollow logs, or the like for them to take shelter in.


You'll want to keep your enclosures ambient temperature around 75 degrees with night time temperature drop only down to 70 degrees. A basking spot of 85-90 degrees F (on the higher end for babies) should also be provided at one end of the enclosure. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure.

They will need a UVB light to help properly process calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. Since they are not out in natural sunlight in our homes, we must provide UVB light in the form of a special fluorescent bulb designed to produce UVB rays. The best bulbs are the mercury vapors such as Exo Terra's Solar Glo bulbs, ZooMed's Powersun, or Solar bright bulbs. These bulbs provide heat and UVB all in one bulb. You can also use separate basking (heat) bulb and UVB bulbs. If you use these, you will want the Zoo Med 5.0 or Exo Terra UVB 100 variety.

Moisture is vital to the red foot tortoise. They can become sick if it's too dry in their enclosure. They also soak, so provide a low sturdy water tray that they can get in and out of easily. They often drink and defecate at the same time, so it's really important to change the water daily. Shallow Exo Terra bowls or the Zoo Med repti ramp both work well. In addition, mist your turtles enclosure every day to keep the substrate damp.

You will want to soak babies in a shallow bowl of room temperature water every morning for approx. 15 mins. to help them stay hydrated.

Red foots are mainly herbivores. They eat grasses, broadleaf weeds and a variety of dark leafy greens, plus vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

You can top off your greens with Repashy bluey buffet or Zilla dried vegetable mix. Make sure to coat your tortoise's greens with calcium and vitamins mix such as Repashy Superveggie.

The occasional earthworm or pinky mouses can be feed a few times per month. Don't over do it.

Red foot tortoises tend to be shy. They are fun to watch, though it can be stressful for them if handled too much. After they get to know you they may follow you around, liking to be near to you, though they would still prefer not to be picked up or handled too much.