Animal Stories - Red-footed Tortoise

Animal-World Information about: Red-footed Tortoise

   A medium-sized tortoise, the popular Red-footed Tortoise is considered to be one of the most responsive and personable of the tortoises!
Latest Animal Stories
cathy - 2013-12-20
Have had a red foot tortoise for 2 years. During warm weather she is in an outside pen & always looking for bugs or worms. 'Ruby' will not eat veggies or fruits in what I feel is proper amounts & when I bring her in the house she heads straight for the dog food bowl. I have been using green veggie baby food w/ a piece of dog food in it and once started she scoops most all the baby food looking for more buried dog food. How long can I let her go without feeding? She has gone a couple of days refusing a proper diet, holding out for the dog food/baby food soup.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-26
    These tortoises are omnivores, so will eat both veggies and protein. There may be something in the dog food she is craving. They usually need food every couple of days. See the care and feeding section above for a more complete description.
Emily - 2013-10-11
I bought a red-footed tortoise about 2 years ago so far 'it' seemed to be doing great until just recently...'it's' eyes are cloudy and his neck seems to be swollen I'm not sure what to do please help.

Joel - 2013-02-27
I have had my red foot zissou for about a month now. Firstly, he really has only taken to bananas. I'm assuming this was what he was given a majority of the time at the pet store. Is there a good way to transition him? Doesn't seem like he eats at all if there are no bananas. Secondly, he never poops in his water dish. He poops on the ground, and today i caught him eating it. I've read that this can be normal. . . . Is it?

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-02-27
    I would suggest continuing to offer him a wide variety of foods, with few bananas. I would hope that over time he would warm up to other types of foods as well. I would also keep an eye on his stools - if they are excessively runny then he is probably not getting the proper nutrients. It is normal for tortoises to eat their stool sometimes too. Yours may be getting additional nutrients from it.
  • Anonymous - 2013-07-05
    No. Too many bananas are VERY unhealthy for your tortoise. The best diet for a baby redfoot tortoise would be romaine lettuce, kale, and escarole as well as collard greens in the Leafy greens section. For vegetables, I suggest very well grated or sliced thin carrots. Use baby carrots for grating and slicing thin. Mushroom is always another option. For fruits, this is supposed to be a very half percentage of their diet so feed strawberry slices, mango cubes, watermelon slices of red stuff, and feed a banana slice once or twice a month during a leafy greens and fruit feeding time. Feed your tortoise TWICE a day, using the food schedule I found for you. SUNDAY Leafy greens MONDAY Leafy greens with fruit TUESDAY Leafy greens WEDNESDAY Leafy greens with vegetable THURSDAY Leafy greens with fruit FRIDAY Leafy greens with meat SATURDAY Half amount of leafy greens as usual I hope this helps very much for I have a red foot tortoise as well and she is as healthy as possible. I have a tip for you though. That 10 gallon tank won’t be helpful for long for red foot tortoises can grow to 20 inches (50 centimeters) and the minimum for a red foot tortoise for the enclosure size is 40 gallons. Make sure that you have soil that is not moldy and make sure your tank is low in height and very wide. Go to Big Al’s, (in Canada) in Scarborough if possible. They have tanks for 99.99 dollars that are PERFECT. DO NOT GET ANY TURTLE KITS FOR YOUR TORTOISE. And make sure you have a soaking area to cool off if your red foot gets a little tired of the humidity. Make sure the red foot never stays underneath the heat spot lamp for longer than 15-20 minutes. This can kill your red foot. If your red foot is not defensive when you pick it up, then something is wrong. Check for scarps of broken legs. If you found anything or nothing go to your veterinarian for a observation.
  • bettycole - 2013-09-13
    I have a redfoot. Got him because I felt sorry for him $60.00. He always poops when I pick him up to be in the house. He does not bite I feel bad he is afaid of me. I feed him all the above except bananas. Caught him eating dog poop today, already had 5 flowers 2 lettuce, romaine leaf a small piece of dog food. Called vet said ok as long as not his only thing he's eating and he eats other things first.
Anonymous - 2010-07-12
I have a red foot tortoise as well her name is yurtle the turtle it was yortoise the tortoise but we found out she is a female she is great the best part is I have a big dog about 80 pounds and they are like best friends I've had her about 5 years now.

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  • Tony - 2010-09-01
    You should never let your dog near a tortoise (or any reptile in general). Regardless of what happened in the past, your dog's instincts will eventually tell it that your tortoise is a walking bone worth investigating. People often say: "Well, I've had my tortoise and dog for many years and they never attack each other," and they continue to allow the two animals to come intact with each other. This happens all too often. Unfortunately, the end result will often be a severely injured tortoise (or in some cases, a dead tortoise) in need of immediate medical attention. Don't mix your animals.
  • Anonymous - 2013-07-08
    I have 4 dogs, and they are fine with our tortoise! They have all lived together for 15 years. The turtle even shares the water.  I have never had an incident.
Katie Whittington - 2010-08-27
I've recently acquired a redfoot.. and many websites say to feed him different things. any suggestions as some say meat - some say greens - some say banana etc, and some say these are bad for him?


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  • Editor's Note - 2010-08-27
    Red footed tortoises are omnivorous and should be fed salads like every other day and meat once or twice a week. Guidelines are given here Red-footed Tortoise As far as bananas and other exotic foods; I don't know what the answer is, if you just stick with what is known to be good for them you'll have a healthy pet!
  • Kellee - 2010-12-30
    I have had a redfoot for 28 years. He is about 16 inches in the shell - head to tail. Redfoots need 80 % greens - they love dandelion greens, most hate spinach and love collard greens - dark greens are best like herb mix you get in the organic section of your local grocerer. If you pick dandelions out of your yard - make sure no chemicals have been used. 10 percent veggies - carrots- cut up small, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, and mushrooms - mine loves mushrooms. and 10 percent fruit - red fruit is the best - strawberries, raspberries, black berries, apples (again cut small) watermelon, other melon. Bananas are good - but fattening - save for a once in awhile treat. NO onion, peppers, cucumbers, celery - to gassy and hard to digest. Give your redfoot some carion - catfood or dog food or better yet - tortiose food from the local reputable pet store. Lastly, my tortoise love Nasturiums flowers or Hibiscus flowers in the summer.
  • amanda - 2011-01-01
    Minimal banana and spinach, it causes constipation. As far as meat goes, I feed mine meal worms just about twice a month and they come in a can at the pet store and keep them in the fridge. Just sprinkle a few on his food. But grapes, carrots, kale, dandilion, a little avacado, apples, kiwi, I also feed mixed mescilan greens. Really anything in small amounts and observe how he reacts to it, such as if it blocks it up or gives the runs. I hope that helps.
  • Jim Moss - 2011-06-22
    A red-foot needs lots of greens but can have up to 20% of his diet in friuts. No spinach but collards, beet tops are great. 5% of the diet needs to be protein. Dried cat or dog food soaked before feeding.
  • red-footed momma - 2013-05-24
    We have had red-footed tortoises in our front (enclosed) yard for more than 30 years. Living in the Caribbean, these tortoises were here before Columbus.... We feed them entirely from our (vegetarian) food scraps, and water them with a chicken waterer. When we had our first batches of babies, we kept the tiny ones in a dry aquarium, and they were partial to lettuce, mushrooms and hibiscus. Now they wander around through the 60'X 20' yard and hide under the bushes in the heat of mid-day. They love the food scraps and particularly adore anything red: hibiscus, cherries, red pepper, etc. They eat bugs and are very happy when our mango tree goes to fruit. They are very lovely companions. One has been with us for nearly 29 years!
ANN - 2011-04-10
How do I know if my red foot is male or female?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-12
    Animal World does describe how to tell the difference between a male and female in the article on the red footed tortoise. It would be a lot easier if you had one of each and then you could put them side by side. However, without that, then hopefully you will be able to tell from the description in the article. I like photos but......easier to tell. I look up U tube and see if they have some photos with male and female side by side. You are supposed to be able to tell.
  • Susan B - 2012-05-08
    Females have a flat plastron and males have a concave one. Have to wait until they are old enough for it to show. Approx 1 year.
  • Anonymous - 2012-11-07
    Check the tail -  if the tail is small but triangular it is a female if its a male the tail will seem ropelike
Kenny - 2011-12-30
I have a redfoot my daughter ordered it's a baby redfoot the first month he was doing great the last few days he has basically not eating and today his legs are not moving very well along with he acts like he is choking when he opens his mouth he is bubbling saliva. I have kept his diet protein, veggies and fruits plenty of water and correct temps. I lost my daughter nov 7. This turtle is very important to our family can anyone please give some advice thankyou

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  • Anonymous - 2012-01-01
    Don't feed it alot of protein! See a vet!
  • Alex Burleson - 2012-01-01
    The best advice I can provide you, is to visit the best veterinarian you can find. Provide them with a list of foods the turtle consumes, the temperature its enclosure remains, and the size of the enclosure. Best of luck!
  • Trish - 2012-07-02
    Get him to a vet immediately! He has a respiratory infection! Mine was blowing a couple of bubbles out of his nose when he was about 4 months old, they had to give him a series of 10 shots. They told me it takes them a long time to get sick, so it takes a long time to heal, but do not take this lightly, otherwise he will unfortunately die. The are highly susceptible to respiratory infections. But please don't wait! It is urgent for you to get him medical attention, they should also test him for any parasites since you ordered him online. Typically mass raised tortoises, can carry parasites. Best of luck to you and God Bless your family in their loss!
  • Anonymous - 2012-11-07
    First she shouldn't eat banana. It is possible that there is a piece of banana stuck in her throat.
Benoit - 2012-08-16
Hi! I live in Brazil and I just got a young Red Footed tortoise who 'invaded' my yard. It's about 3' long. My daughter loved it and we decided to keep it. I'd like to know if we can wash its shell (it is sooooo dirty) and if exist some oil (with vitamin) we could use to let her shiny! I took care of Lizards (Physignatus) Snakes (Boas - constrictor and a couple of Python - Regius) in the past, but I never had to deal with tortoise like this Carbonaria :) I remember that I used to give some D3 vitamin complement to my lizards, it was a kind of oil....

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-16
    You can wash your litle guy very gently with a soft toothbrush and luke warm water.  Wash him in a container (just for him) that is cleaned out using only water.   Do not bathe him in the tub or the kitchen sink but a container used just for him and cleaned throughly with just water.  I could find nothing regarding a recommendation to put anything on his shell.  He might be molting or just cleaning a few times might restore appearance but these guys are shiny.  So just soft toothbrush in clean container and luke warm water filled about 1 - 2 inches in container.
Isabel Cerni - 2011-12-07
I have a baby Red-Footed turtle which is about 2 wks old. It is having a problem at the moment. When I checked on it two hours ago it was in some distress. It would raise its head high and then lower it all the way down as if it's going to die. It is not moving otherwise. Normally it would have been walking around. She had bananas this morning and it's possible she is constipated as someone else suggested on this site. What can I do to help her?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-07
    I don't know what could be the problem but if you think it is constipation give him some baby fruit or just fruit.
  • pete winders - 2012-01-13
    In the wild, the tortoise will eat a variety of food, and will grow to be the weight of a small dog. They can eat a lot. But I think variety is the key. Our tortoises liked dry dog food (soaked so it is soft) for protein and minerals, all sorts of fruit and vegetables. Lettuce does not have much nutrition but has fiber. Some large tortoises should get very little protein, and would do better with hay. find a reptile vet.
  • sheena - 2012-06-06
    Bananas should only be given once to twice a month that will cause them to not be able to go and when feeding them bananas keep the peel on! I would try the timothy hay or romaine lettuce. Iceberg isn't that great! Mine love the kale and cherry tomatoes!
Susan B - 2012-05-08
I have a new red foot (about 6 days) he's a yearling. He hides in his log all the time unless I pull him out for his soak. That wakes him up and he will wander around the house a little and eats only a tiny amount (one small piece of greens or a 1/4 a strawberry or a 1/2 grape tomato). He has eaten only very small amounts. As soon as he is back in his enclosure, he returns to the log. How long will this behavior last? He is in a 4 x 2 small animal pen. Wire top. I have a basking area at 90* and a cool end about 70*. A UVB light, water pond and humidity about 60%. Is it conditions or bashfulness? Help or advice from those more experienced appreciated!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-05-08
    Yeah, I'd be worried about his not eating. Try some different greenstuffs to see if you can find something that attracts him. Check with the previous owner about his diet, maybe he has a favorite food. If all else fails, get him a checkup with a veterinarian to make sure he doesn't have internal parasites or other illness. A vet will want a stool sample. He needs to be eating more...
  • Susan B - 2012-05-09
    He came from a Petsmart. They had him on freeze-dried pellets. I want him to eat fresh foods. I turned off his UVB yesterday for awhile and he wandered around his pen for a longer period. Last night, he burrowed in next to his log instead of under it. I read on this site that many ppl have experience with their red foots when they are rehomed, but they do come around. I will keep my eye on him...
  • sheena - 2012-06-06
    I've also read that when transfered to a new home the may fast and can go long periods of time without food or water. I just got one myself she is so funny. She has no fear and loves to run outside in the grass! Petco and petsmart really couldnt give me much info on the breed! lol Great help they where. Give him or her some time. Mine love cherry tomatoes those r her favorite!