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Red Footed Tortoise – SUPER care sheet

The Red Footed Tortoise is a species of tortoise that is native to South America, particularly the northern regions of the continent, including Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. They are also commonly found on the Galapagos Islands.

These tortoises are known for their distinctively colored, reddish-orange scales on their limbs and head, which contrast with their dark brown or black shell. They have a relatively small size compared to other tortoises, growing up to around 30 centimeters in length and weighing up to 5 kilograms.

Red Footed Tortoises are herbivores, and they primarily feed on fruits, leaves, and flowers. They are also known to occasionally eat insects and other small animals. These tortoises are active during the day and spend much of their time basking in the sun or wandering through the forest floor.

Red Footed Tortoises are commonly kept as pets due to their attractive appearance and relatively low maintenance requirements. However, it is important to note that they require proper care and attention to thrive in captivity, including a spacious and appropriately heated and lit enclosure, a varied and nutritious diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. It is also important to ensure that any pet tortoise is obtained legally and ethically, to avoid contributing to the illegal trade in wildlife.


The Red-footed Tortoise may be found in its natural habitat in South America, more specifically in the northern parts of the continent. It can be found in countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

The Galapagos Islands are another location where you might find them. By human activities like as the trade in pets and unintentional release, these tortoises have spread to new areas, some of which are located in Central America and the Caribbean. Despite this, their natural range continues to serve as their principal home.

Appearance and behavior

The Red Footed Tortoise has a striking look, with scales that are a reddish-orange coloration on its limbs and head, in contrast to its shell, which is a dark brown or black coloration. They may reach a maximum length of around 30 centimeters and a maximum weight of about 5 kilos, which is on the smaller end of the size spectrum when compared to other species of tortoise.

The activity of these tortoises, which is noted for being both active and gregarious, consists of things like lounging in the sun or walking around on the ground of the forest. They are predominantly diurnal, which refers to the fact that they are active during the day and sleep throughout the night. In addition to this, they are known to be vocal, producing a wide range of hissing and grunting sounds.

Herbivorous in nature, red-footed tortoises get the majority of their nutrition from the fruits, leaves, and flowers they consume. In addition to that, it is known that they will occasionally consume things like insects and other tiny animals. They contribute significantly to the spread of seeds and the formation of their natural environment by playing a major part in these processes within their natural habitat.

In order to thrive in captivity, Red-footed Tortoises need the appropriate level of care and attention. They require a meal rich in variety and nutrients, as well as frequent checkups with a veterinarian, a cage that is sufficiently heated and illuminated, and adequate space. In addition to this, they require chances for physical activity and the company of other tortoises in order to thrive. These tortoises have been known to survive for up to 50 years or even longer when given the correct care.

size and lifespan

The Red-footed Tortoise is a species of tortoise that, in comparison to others of its kind, is on the smaller side, reaching a maximum length of around 30 centimeters (12 inches) and a maximum weight of up to 5 kilos (11 pounds).

When it comes to their lifetime, red-footed tortoises are well-known for the exceptional length of their lives. They have been known to survive for up to 60 years or more when kept in captivity, despite the fact that they may only expect to live for up to 50 years in their native environment. The average lifetime of a Red-footed Tortoise can be affected by a variety of variables, including its nutrition, environment, and general state of health. These tortoises have the potential to live long, healthy lives if they are given the required care and attention, which includes a nutritious feed, an enclosure that is adequately heated and illuminated, adequate space, and frequent checkups with a veterinarian.


It is common knowledge that red-footed tortoises are placid and submissive, and it is also documented that they are gregarious and active throughout the daylight hours. They are not normally hostile toward humans or other animals; but, much like any other animal, they each have their own distinct personalities and temperaments, which can vary from individual to individual. In general, they are not hostile toward humans or other animals.

By the appropriate treatment and socialization of their captive environment, red-footed tortoises have the potential to become fairly docile and at ease around their human carers. It is essential, however, to keep in mind that despite their domestication, they are still wild animals that ought to be treated with reverence and caution. It is essential to approach them with care and respect for their comfort and well-being, just as one would with any other type of pet.

It is essential to keep in mind that Red Footed Tortoises are capable of becoming tense or agitated if they perceive that they are in danger or are uncomfortable. It is possible for a turtle to show signs of stress or discomfort by withdrawing from social engagement, hissing, biting, or retreating within their shell. As is the case with any other type of pet, it is essential to study the behavior of your tortoise in order to better comprehend their requirements and give the proper level of care.


It is vital to provide a suitable enclosure in order to ensure the health and well-being of a Red Footed Tortoise that is being kept in captivity. The following are some pointers to consider while constructing an adequate enclosure:

Footed Red is the Size. Tortoises must have a large enclosure in order for them to get the necessary amount of exercise and to accommodate their energetic nature. The enclosure has to be at least four times the length of the tortoise and twice as wide as the turtle. This is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Substrate: The substrate need to be made of a material that is not hazardous for the tortoise to walk on, one that can easily hold moisture, and one that can be cleaned. Coconut coir, orchid bark, reptile carpet, or a mixture of dirt and play sand are some of the available alternatives.

Lighting and heating: Red-footed Tortoises require a basking place with a temperature of approximately 32-35°C (90-95°F) and a colder side of the enclosure with a temperature of around 22-26°C (72-78°F) Red-footed Tortoises also require a temperature range of around 22-26°C (72-78°F). In order for them to absorb calcium effectively, they also need to be exposed to full-spectrum UVB illumination.

Humidity: In order to keep their respiratory and cutaneous processes in a healthy state, red-footed tortoises need humidity levels that range from moderate to high. The relative humidity should be maintained at a level between 60 and 80 percent; this can be accomplished by regularly spraying the area or by using a humidifier.

Enrichment: Because red-footed tortoises are such active and gregarious creatures, they may gain a lot of benefit from enrichment items such as hides, climbing structures, and shallow water dishes for soaking.

In addition to this, it is essential to clean the cage on a consistent basis and keep a close eye on the health and behavior of the tortoise. In addition, it is crucial for the general well-being of a Red Footed Tortoise that it be provided with a food that is both nutritious and diverse, that it have access to clean water, and that it get routine veterinarian examinations.


Lighting is a crucial component of setting up an appropriate enclosure for a Red Footed Tortoise in captivity. These tortoises require full-spectrum UVB lighting to maintain proper calcium metabolism, which is essential for healthy shell growth and overall health. Here are some guidelines for providing proper lighting for a Red Footed Tortoise:

  • Lighting schedule: Red Footed Tortoises require 10-12 hours of UVB lighting per day, which should be provided on a regular schedule to mimic natural daylight cycles. You can use a timer to ensure consistent lighting schedules.
  • UVB lighting: It’s important to use high-quality UVB bulbs specifically designed for reptiles. The bulbs should be replaced every 6-12 months, as their UVB output gradually decreases over time. It’s also important to ensure that the bulbs are positioned within the enclosure at an appropriate distance from the tortoise to provide adequate UVB exposure without overheating.
  • Heat lamp: A separate heat lamp can be used to provide a basking spot with temperatures between 32-35°C (90-95°F). This lamp should be positioned to allow the tortoise to bask under it but should not be so close that it overheats.
  • Lighting placement: The UVB and heat lamps should be placed on one end of the enclosure to create a temperature gradient, with a cooler side on the other end. This allows the tortoise to regulate its body temperature by moving between the warmer and cooler areas of the enclosure.

It’s important to regularly monitor the temperature and lighting conditions within the enclosure, as well as the tortoise’s behavior and health, to ensure that the lighting setup is providing the appropriate conditions for the tortoise’s well-being.


Maintaining proper temperatures within the enclosure is important for the health and well-being of a Red Footed Tortoise. These tortoises require a basking spot with temperatures between 32-35°C (90-95°F) and a cooler side of the enclosure with temperatures around 22-26°C (72-78°F). Here are some guidelines for maintaining appropriate temperatures within the enclosure:

  • Heat source: A separate heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter can be used to provide a basking spot with temperatures between 32-35°C (90-95°F). The heat source should be positioned to allow the tortoise to bask under it but should not be so close that it overheats.
  • Thermometer: It’s important to use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature within the enclosure, particularly in the basking and cooler areas. Digital thermometers with remote probes can be particularly useful for monitoring temperatures at different locations within the enclosure.
  • Heating pad: In cooler environments or during the night, a heating pad can be placed under part of the enclosure to provide additional warmth. It’s important to ensure that the heating pad does not overheat and that the tortoise has access to cooler areas of the enclosure if needed.
  • Temperature gradient: The enclosure should have a temperature gradient, with the basking spot on one end of the enclosure and a cooler area on the other end. This allows the tortoise to regulate its body temperature by moving between the warmer and cooler areas of the enclosure.

Make sure you keep an eye on the temp multiple times per day


It is essential to keep a clean and healthy habitat for a Red-footed Tortoise, and one of the most crucial aspects of this is the substrate. The tortoise should be able to move on the substrate without fear of injury, it should be able to keep its wetness, and it should be simple to clean. The following are some possibilities for substrates that are appropriate for Red-Footed Tortoises:

Coconut coir is a well-liked option for tortoise enclosures due to the fact that it is a natural material, that it is absorbent, and that it is simple to clean. Furthermore assisting in the upkeep of the enclosure’s humidity levels, coconut coir should be used.

Orchid bark is another naturally occurring and absorbent material that may be utilized for the construction of enclosures for red-footed tortoises. The bark of orchids is especially helpful for holding moisture and can contribute to the maintenance of humidity levels.

Reptile carpet is a synthetic substrate that is simple to clean and maintain. It is ideal for use in reptile enclosures. It does not absorb moisture, thus it can help prevent the formation of bacteria, and it can be reused once it has been washed.

Mixing topsoil and play sand together creates a natural substrate that is an accurate representation of the tortoise’s native environment. It is simple to dig in and keeps its wetness well, both of which can give the tortoise with a more stimulating environment.

While selecting a substrate, it is essential to steer clear of elements that the tortoise might find unpleasant, such as cedar, pine, or any other fragrant wood or substance that could lead to respiratory issues. In addition to this, the substrate must to have sufficient depth for the tortoise to dig into it, and frequent spot cleaning ought to be done in order to remove any excrement or food that has been left uneaten.

In general, the tortoise should be able to move on the substrate without discomfort or risk, it should offer possibilities for mental stimulation, and it should be simple to clean and maintain.


The enclosure of a red-footed tortoise may be improved in terms of both enrichment and stimulation if ornaments are added to it. In addition, the space will take on a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. The enclosure of a red-footed tortoise can be decorated in a variety of ways, and some of those ways are listed below:

Rocks: Placing rocks of varying sizes in the enclosure can give the tortoise with places to hide, surfaces to climb on, and a variety of intriguing textures for it to investigate. The humidity levels inside the enclosure may also be maintained with the aid of rocks.

Hides: Offering hides for the tortoise, such as half logs or caves, can provide the tortoise a sense of security and stimulate natural behaviors like digging and exploring.

Plants: Whether you use real or fake plants, including them in the cage is a great way to give it a more natural look and feel, as well as to provide the tortoise places to hide and opportunities to climb. Also contributing to the upkeep of the enclosure’s humidity levels might be live plants.

Wood or cork bark: The addition of bits of wood or cork bark can give the tortoise with places to hide, opportunities to climb, and intriguing textures to investigate.

Platforms for basking: Offering a platform for the tortoise to bask on can encourage natural behaviors and provide a comfortable and safe location for the tortoise to warm up under the heat lamp. Basking platforms.

While adding decorations to the enclosure, it is essential to check that they are risk-free for the tortoise and do not present any potential dangers, such as jagged edges or small bits that the tortoise might accidentally ingest. In addition, the decorations should be set in such a manner that the tortoise is able to freely walk around the enclosure without being hindered in any way by the decorations.


It is necessary to keep the enclosure clean of a Red Footed Tortoise in order to preserve the tortoise’s health and to avoid the formation of bacteria that may be damaging to the tortoise. The enclosure of a Red-footed Tortoise should be cleaned according to these guidelines:

Cleaning on Demand: Cleaning on demand should be done on a regular basis in order to remove any excrement, food that has not been eaten, or other waste. This can be done once a day or whenever it’s required.

Thorough cleaning: A thorough cleaning of the enclosure should be performed once every few weeks or as often as necessary, depending on the size of the habitat and the number of tortoises that are housed within it. The substrate, decorations, and furniture must all be removed from the enclosure, and then subjected to a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection process.

While sanitizing the enclosure, it is essential to make use of a disinfectant that is suitable for reptiles and to adhere to the directions provided by the manufacturer for its use. After sanitizing the enclosure, give all of the surfaces a good rinsing, then wait for them to dry naturally before replacing the substrate and any decorations that were removed.

Cleaning the water dish In order to guarantee that the tortoise has access to fresh water at all times, the water dish has to be cleaned and replenished on a regular basis. It is recommended that the water dish be meticulously cleaned and disinfected once per week, or more frequently if necessary.

Positioning the enclosure correctly is essential, and it is recommended that it be put in a spot that is both clean and dry, either inside the house or outside. It is best to avoid putting the enclosure in a location that has a high relative humidity or one that might subject it to direct sunlight or drafts.

You may assist in maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your Red-footed Tortoise by adhering to these suggestions and maintaining a regular cleaning routine for the enclosure in which it lives.

Food and water

It is necessary to provide a food that is well balanced for a Red Footed Tortoise in order to maintain excellent health and avoid health problems from occurring. The following are some suggestions for the diet you should provide for your Red-Footed Tortoise:

Variety: A diet for a Red-footed Tortoise should contain a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein in addition to the standard fare of these food groups. A diet that is around 70 percent plant-based and 30 percent protein-based is a decent rule of thumb to strive towards.

Plant-based foods: You should provide your tortoise with a variety of plant-based foods, including dark leafy greens (such as kale, collard greens, and dandelion greens), vegetables (such as carrots, squash, and sweet potato), and fruits (such as apples, bananas, and pears) (such as papaya, mango, and berries). To ensure that your tortoise consumes a diet that is complete with all of the necessary nutrients, you should provide it with a wide range of fruit and vegetable options.

Sources of protein Potential sources of protein for tortoises include commercial tortoise food, insects (such as crickets and mealworms), eggs and poultry that have been cooked, and commercial tortoise treats. It is important to provide sources of protein in moderation and to avoid providing an excessive amount of protein derived from animals because doing so might lead to health concerns.

Calcium: In order to maintain strong bone growth and proper shell formation, red-footed tortoises must consume an adequate amount of calcium in their food. Provide calcium-fortified foods such dark leafy greens, calcium supplements, and cuttlebones, as well as other calcium-rich meals.

Water: At all times, there should be access to water that is both fresh and clean. Give the tortoise a bowl of water that is shallow and easy for it to drink from, and be sure to replace the water every day.

In the wild, red-footed tortoises are herbivores, which means that they consume only meals that come from plants. This is a crucial fact to keep in mind. Hence, it is essential that you steer clear of giving your tortoise any meals that are heavy in fat or high in protein, such as meat or dairy items. In addition, any fruits or vegetables that are high in oxalic acid, such as spinach or rhubarb, should be provided to your pet in moderation in order to avoid any potential health problems.

You can do your part to keep your Red-footed Tortoise healthy and happy by providing it with a diet that is both diverse and well-balanced, as well as making sure that it has access to clean water at all times.


Those who are interested in keeping reptiles as pets may find that red-footed tortoises make ideal pets; nevertheless, it is essential to treat them in the appropriate manner so as not to cause them any unnecessary stress or harm. The following are some pointers to keep in mind when working with a Red-footed Tortoise:

While working with a Red-footed Tortoise, it is imperative to exercise caution and refrain from squeezing or violently manipulating the animal in any way. If they are handled violently or dumped, tortoises are susceptible to suffering serious injuries.

While handling tortoises, it is imperative to ensure that the animal’s body and shell are supported at all times. It is important to remember to never pick up a tortoise by the legs or the tail since doing so might do them harm.

Red Footed Tortoises can become anxious if they feel threatened or if they are unable to withdraw, therefore it is important to provide them the opportunity to do so. When you are handling your tortoise, ensure that the surrounding area is calm and secure, and give them the opportunity to hide within their shell if they get stressed.

Cleanse your hands: To avoid the transmission of infection or sickness, you should always wash your hands before and after touching your tortoise.

Although Red Footed Tortoises can be handled, it is vital to restrict the amount of time spent doing so in order to avoid the animals from being stressed and to give them the opportunity to relax. The amount of handling required should be no more than a few minutes each day at most.

It is essential to keep in mind that not all Red Footed Tortoises take pleasure in being handled, and some of them may get tense or agitated if they are handled an excessive amount. As you are managing your tortoise, it is imperative that you always pay attention to its mannerisms and pay attention to its body language. If your tortoise appears to be uneasy or anxious, it is better to return them to their cage and attempt handling them at a later time.


The cost of a Red-footed Tortoise can change significantly based on a variety of aspects, such as the tortoise’s age and size, the breeder or vendor, as well as the location. On average, Red Footed Tortoises can be purchased for anywhere from $100 to $500 or even more; however, younger and smaller tortoises are often more affordable than larger and older tortoises. However, it is important to note that the cost of purchasing a tortoise is only a small part of the overall cost of keeping one as a pet, as there are many ongoing expenses such as food, housing, and veterinary care. It is also important to note that the cost of purchasing a tortoise is only a small part of the overall cost of keeping one as a pet. It is essential, before to buying a Red Footed Tortoise or any other type of pet, to do research on the care requirements and associated expenditures. This will ensure that you are able to offer an appropriate and responsible environment for your new pet when you get it home.

common health issues

Like all animals, Red Footed Tortoises can be prone to certain health issues. Here are some common health issues to watch out for in Red Footed Tortoises:

  1. Respiratory infections: Red Footed Tortoises can be prone to respiratory infections if their enclosure is not kept clean or if the temperature or humidity levels are not appropriate.
  2. Nutritional deficiencies: A diet that is low in calcium or vitamin D3 can lead to metabolic bone disease, which can cause softening of the bones and shell.
  3. Parasites: Red Footed Tortoises can be susceptible to internal and external parasites, such as mites and worms, which can cause a range of health problems.
  4. Shell problems: Shell problems, such as pyramiding or shell rot, can be caused by poor diet or inadequate environmental conditions.
  5. Injury: Red Footed Tortoises can be injured if they fall or are dropped, or if they are housed with other aggressive animals.
  6. Eye infections: Eye infections can occur if the tortoise is housed in a dirty environment or if their eyes become irritated by dust or other particles.

If you notice any signs of illness or injury in your Red Footed Tortoise, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, abnormal behavior, or changes in their appearance, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. With proper care and attention, many health problems in Red Footed Tortoises can be prevented or treated successfully.

monthly cost

The cost of maintaining a Red-footed Tortoise on a monthly basis might change based on a number of factors, including the size of the tortoise, the condition of the enclosure in which it is kept, and the cost of food and veterinary services in your region. The following is a list of some of the regular monthly expenses that are connected with taking care of a Red Footed Tortoise:

Food: Red-footed Tortoises need a diversified diet that consists of a combination of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. They cannot live on just one type of food. You should budget anywhere from $20 to $50 a month for your tortoise’s food, but be prepared for the cost of its food to fluctuate depending on the sorts of foods you choose to give it.

Red Footed Tortoises require a large habitat that is well-equipped, with a heat lamp, UVB illumination, and a variety of hiding locations and enrichment items. The enclosure should be as large as possible and well-lit. It is possible for the cost of constructing an enclosure to range anywhere from several hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars, depending on the size of the enclosure and the quality of the materials that are utilized; however, you should budget anywhere from several hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars for a suitable enclosure.

Substrate: In order to maintain the cleanliness and sanitary conditions of your tortoise’s cage, you will need to frequently replace the substrate. You may anticipate to pay roughly $10 to $20 more on substrate on a monthly basis on average, although the cost of substrate can vary based on the type and quantity that you use.

Veterinarian care: Red-footed Tortoises need to have their health checked by a veterinarian on a consistent basis to ensure that they are free of any parasites or other health problems. Expect to spend between $100 and $300 year on veterinary care for your tortoise. The cost of veterinary care might vary based on your region and the exact services that your tortoise requires; nonetheless, you should budget between these two amounts.

The basic care and upkeep of a red-footed tortoise is estimated to cost between $50 and $150 each month, with additional expenses incurred for veterinary care and any other unanticipated fees. In all, you should budget between these two amounts. Before you bring a Red-footed Tortoise into your home, it is always a good idea to research the specific requirements of these animals and consult with a veterinarian or an experienced reptile keeper. The cost of caring for a tortoise can vary greatly depending on the individual needs and circumstances of your pet. However, it is important to note that the cost of caring for a tortoise can vary greatly depending on these individual needs and circumstances.

Good for kids?

While Red Footed Tortoises can make interesting and engaging pets, they may not be the best choice for families with young children. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if a Red Footed Tortoise is a good fit for your family:

  1. Long lifespan: Red Footed Tortoises can live for several decades, which means that they are a long-term commitment. If you’re considering getting a Red Footed Tortoise as a pet for your child, it’s important to remember that your child may grow up and move out before the tortoise reaches the end of its lifespan.
  2. Delicate nature: Red Footed Tortoises are delicate animals that require specific environmental conditions and careful handling. Young children may not have the patience or attention span required to provide the level of care that a tortoise needs, and may inadvertently harm the tortoise through rough handling or improper care.
  3. Limited interaction: While Red Footed Tortoises can be fascinating to watch, they are not particularly interactive pets. They do not enjoy being picked up or handled excessively, and may become stressed or agitated if they are handled too much. This means that children may not have as much opportunity to interact with the tortoise as they would with a more social pet, such as a dog or cat.


In conclusion, the Red Footed Tortoise is a fascinating and rewarding pet for experienced reptile keepers who can provide the specialized care that this species requires. While they can be relatively low-maintenance compared to some other pets, Red Footed Tortoises still require careful attention to their diet, housing, and environmental needs in order to thrive.

Potential owners should be prepared to invest in a spacious and well-equipped enclosure, provide a varied and nutritious diet, and take the time to learn about the unique behaviors and habits of this species. Additionally, owners should be aware that Red Footed Tortoises have a long lifespan and require a significant long-term commitment.

While Red Footed Tortoises may not be the best choice for families with young children or inexperienced pet owners, they can make fascinating and engaging pets for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to provide a suitable home for these unique and intriguing animals.