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Yellow-footed Tortoise

Geochelone (Chelonoidis) denticulata
Family: Testudinidae
Adult Size: 15 to more than 100 lbs

Northern South America north of the Amazon River.

Habitat: Humid dense tropical rain forest.
Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years


The yellow-footed tortoise is not overly common in the pet trade although it is not rare. Both wild caught imports and captive born hatchlings are available from time to time. As noted in the adult size, the yellow-footed tortoise does vary in size a great deal with those coming from the Amazon River basin reported as being the largest reaching sizes up to 36 inches in length and more than 100 lbs. Although they can reach these sizes, they are more commonly in the 15 to 20 pound range as adults.

The yellow-footed tortoise comes from humid areas where it mostly remains under the cover of leaf litter under rain forest canopy. It is an opportunistic feeder where it prefers a good variety of fruits in addition to insects and carrion. This should also make up their captive diet.

The recommended temperature range in captivity is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Basking areas are usually not utilized although one should be provided. The substrate on which this tortoise is kept in captivity is important in order to make the tortoise feel secure and less stressed. It is recommended to use a moist mulch and leaf litter that the tortoise will burrow into.

A water dish with clean fresh water should be available at all times. Yellow-footed tortoises also benefit from the availability of a pool which they will readily soak in if one is provided.