Pet Care Guides Reptile

Red Footed Tortoise


South America



Average Size


Life Span

Average 40-50 years


The red foot tortoise's diet consists of vegetables, fruit, and some protein. Most vegetable matter fed to these tortoises should be romaine and other dark leafy greens. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts should be fed sparingly. Protein can be derived from mealworms, earthworms, etcetera. They should be fed 2 or 3 times a week, with their food dusted with a D3 vitamin and calcium once a week. A commercially prepared tortoise food is also a recommended food source.



The enclosure for this tortoise should be tropical, with a high humidity level. A 50 gallon tank is suitable for a young tortoise, but an adult will require a large area with plenty of space. An enclosure approximately 5 feet by 5 feet will work. They need a shallow pan of water about 1/3 of their shell height for drinking and soaking themselves. A 5% UV bulb is necessary when keeping any tortoise or turtle; it simulates the UV rays that the tortoise would usually receive from the sun.


For substrate, you should use cypress mulch bedding, which holds humidity well when moistened. Changing both the substrate and the water when they are soiled is an absolute must when keeping this tortoise.


Temperature during the day should be 85°-90°F at one end of the enclosure and 70°-75°F. This can be accomplished with the use of an incandescent heat lamp.

Helpful Hints

Red foot tortoises have black carapaces, the top part of their shells, with yellow on the center of each scute. The plastron, the bottom part of the shell, is yellow. In mature males, the rear of the plastron is concave. Red scales are found on the head and legs of these tortoises.

Wash your hands thoroughly after handling either the red foot tortoise or its cage furnishings. If you have any questions about your turtle, please contact a Reptile Room employee at 717-299-5691, option 7.