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The common red foot tortoise and its growing list of morphs

red foot tortoise

One of the more common species of reptiles for sale on the market is the red foot tortoise of South America. These long-lived and colorful reptiles are found in a number of countries including Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia. They have long been a staple part of the reptile keeper’s menagerie due to their small size and their colorful appearance. Recently as captive production of these tortoises has become more common place, colorful mutations of the common red footed tortoise have started to appear in collections and available for sale to the public.

The origin of the red foot tortoise

Red foot tortoises are commonly found in savannahs and forest edges around the amazon basin in northern South America. They are a medium sized tortoise that rarely reaches upwards of 16 inches in length and is more likely to stay around the 12 inch size as an adult. They are omnivores unlike other grassland tortoises and have been known to eat carrion and even chase down small rodents and other vertebrates as part of their natural diet. They lay small clutches of 3-5 eggs that are buried in shallow holes that the females dig and test to determine the perfect humidity and temperature. Average incubation time is five months and hatchling tortoises are born brightly colored and open to predation by a number of species including humans.

Red Foot tortoises in captivity

Since international trade in any tortoises under four inches in length is prohibited, a number of breeding farms have popped up in countries that are hosts to these animals. These farms can be as simple as a holding facility where hatchlings are kept and raised until they can be legally exported but are also places where captive breeding takes place year in and year out. As with many other species that are being captively reproduced in large numbers, color variations have started to emerge and isolated for future production.

Red footed tortoise color mutations

Most red footed tortoises are brown and yellow as hatchlings with orange to red colored heads and legs. As they mature their shell turns an almost charcoal black with highlights ranging from tan to bright yellow. A couple of exceptions to this color scheme are the hypomelanistic red foot tortoise and the albino red foot tortoise. The hypomelanistic variation has a lack of black or dark coloration making it a light tan to yellow colored animal with the red to orange spots on the head and feet being more pronounced. The albino variation has no color other than the bright red spots on the head and legs. Their shells are a bright ivory color that can darken to a medium yellow as they mature. These two mutations have been crossed with the cherry head variety to create even more pronounced color variations with a brighter red highlight throughout the head and neck area.

At XYZReptiles we have teamed up with a group of local small breeders to source our baby red footed tortoises for sale. We have them available on a year round basis and try to offer our customers the best looking and lowest priced pet red foots on the market. We are also fortunate to be working with the originator of the hypomelanistic variation and can make those available for sale upon request. As always we are also available to consult with on questions regarding diet, setup and husbandry of these and many other tortoises we have for sale on our site.

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