2.11 South American Red-footed Tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria)

2.11.1 Description

A handsome tortoise with an elongated carapace (to 51 cm). Carapace sides are concave when viewed from above. Carapace is black with yellow to reddish orange vertebral and pleural areolae. Plastron is yellowish brown with some dark pigment along the seams. Head is moderate in size with a nonprojecting snout and a slightly hooked upper jaw. Head scales are yellow, red, or orange, jaws are dark. The front of each forelimb is covered with large red scales. There are no enlarged tubercles on the thighs. Males have a concave plastron and longer, thicker tails than the females. Females have a flat plastron.

2.11.2 Habitat

Southeastern Panama and west of the Andes in Choco' of Colombia, but mainly east of the Andes in eastern Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guianas to eastern Brazil, south to Rio de Janeiro, and west to eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. Occurs on Trinidad, and has been introduced to quite a few Caribbean Islands including St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.

Prefers moist savannas, humid forests. There may be competition with denticulata.

2.11.3 Behavior

Mates year-round.

2.11.4 Reproduction

Nests from June to September. Female digs a flasklike hole 20 cm deep. There are 2 to 15 eggs in a clutch, and several clutches per year. Eggs are elongated (40-59 X 34-48 mm) with brittle shells. Hatchlings are rounded and flat (39 - 45 mm).

2.11.5 Food

Grasses, succulents, fallen fruits, and carrion.

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