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Red-footed tortoise

Chelonoidis Carbonariu

Red-footed tortoises get their name from their red, orange or yellow scales which are visible on their legs, as well as their heads and tails.

The shell is smooth and narrow to help the tortoise squeeze past trees and plants in tropical forests. Unfortunately, the meat from the red-footed tortoise is considered a delicacy by many communities and huge numbers of the species are shipped all over South America and beyond, for human use.

The average red footed tortoise has a body length of up to 30.4 centimetres and can weigh up to 12 kilograms.

Red-footed tortoises are listed under Appendix II for CITES

You can find out tortoises in the zoo’s Reptile House.

  Fun fact Its tall and narrow shell helps it squeeze between trees in the forest

Animal class


Conservation status

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction but is threatened by habitat destruction, hunting for food and the pet trade.


Rainforest and forest – prefers humid forests, but lives in elsewhere in central and South America.


Wild population numbers are unknown, but the species is believed to be in steep decline.


Omnivore – eats grass, fruit, flowers and small plants. Will also eat carrion.