Yellow-footed Tortoise
Geochelone denticulata

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
FAMILY: Testudinidae

SIZE:
Average carapace length 15 - 16 inches (Record length 27.5 inches)

RANGE:
South America, from Venezuela to Bolivia

HABITAT:
Tropical and subtropical wet forests (used to high humidity and fluctuating temperatures)

DIET:
Wild - Vegetation, fungi, leaves, flowers, fruit. Although mainly herbivorous, it will take carrion when available.

Zoo - Lettuce, fruits and vegetables

DESCRIPTION:

  • The carapace is dark brown, the scutes gradually lightening towards the center but without sharp contrast.
  • Larger scales on the limbs are yellow-orange rather than red.
  • Male moves his head in single sideways sweeps as challenge head movements during courtship of female.

YOUNG:
Average clutch size is 1 - 8 eggs, with 4 - 5 being most frequent. Eggs occasionally laid on forest floor, but usually are partially buried in a shallow scrape. Incubation is 125 - 150 days.

STATUS:

  • CITES App. II; Breeds in captivity
  • Yellow-footed tortoise is considered a delicacy and is hunted by forest Indians. They are also believed to have medicinal properties, the burnt shell being used against a variety of ailments.
  • They are kept as pets throughout much of their range, primarily in rural areas.
  • The carapace is also used for making musical instraments.
  • The greatest threat to this species is human encroachment into its habitat through logging, agriculture, and oil exploration.