2.12 South American Yellow-footed Tortoise (Geochelone

  denticulata)

2.12.1 Description

The largest tortoise (to 82 cm) living in South America. Carapace is brown with yellow to orange vertebral and pleural areolae and yellow to orange at the lower edge of each marginal. Plastron has an anal notch. Plastron is yellowish brown with darker pigment along the seams. Head is moderate in size with a nonprojecting snout and a slightly hooked upper jaw. Head scales are yellow to orange with dark borders, with dark brown jaws. There are no enlarged turbucles on the thighs. Plastron of males is concave with longer thicker tails than the females.

2.12.2 Habitat

Ranges from southeastern Venezuela through the Caribbean lowlands of the Guianas to Brazil, throughout the Amazon Basin to eastern Ecuador and Colombia, northeastern Peru, northern and eastern Bolivia. Also occurs on the island of Trinidad. Prefers tropical evergreen and deciduous rainforests.

2.12.3 Behavior

Males identify other males by a characteristic head movement that is not made by the females. Male may sniff the cloacal region of the female, perhaps to ascertain species. Male will push, ram, and bite at female before mounting. Clucklike vocalization may be emitted by male during courtship and copulation.

2.12.4 Reproduction

Likely nests year-round. There are likely several clutches per year, a typical clutch consisting of 4 to 8 elongated (40-60 X 35-44 mm) eggs with brittle shells. Incubation takes four to five months. Hatchlings (47 - 60 mm) are rounded and flat.

2.12.5 Food

Grasses, succulent plants, fallen fruit, and carrion.


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