The Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit is temporarily closed through Fall 2022.

South American Yellow-Footed Tortoise

(Chelonoidis denticulata)

Overview

The yellow-footed tortoise gets its name from the distinctive yellow or orange scales found on its limbs. These animals communicate with each other with rapid head movements.

Females lay approximately four to eight eggs in each clutch, with a year-round breeding period. Yellow-footed tortoise eggs incubate for around 100 to 200 days. Typically, males are bigger than females, but most extremely large individuals are females. Males can be identified by the concave shape of their lower shell or plastron.

A Note From the Caretaker

Tortoises are very personable and are able to recognize their keepers. The adult female at the Aquarium loves to have her neck scratched, and her favorite food is papaya and mango.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the South American yellow-footed tortoise! Did you know that these tortoises can live for more than 50 years?

This tortoise is found in the rain forests of South America. It ranges from southeastern Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, Brazil and throughout the Amazon basin to eastern Colombia and Ecuador, northeastern Peru and northeastern Bolivia.

This type of tortoise eats an assortment of fallen fruits, leaves, grass and occasionally carrion or insects.

As adults, yellow-footed tortoises are most frequently around 15 to 20 pounds. Some rare individuals grow to enormous sizes and can be up to 36 inches in length and over 100 pounds!

The yellow-footed tortoise is considered vulnerable to extinction.

The largest threat to yellow-footed tortoises is hunting by humans, as they are considered a delicacy in parts of South America. They are also endangered by habitat loss.

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