All Aspects of Captive Baby Red-Footed Tortoise Care and Maintenance

All Aspects of Captive Baby Red Footed Tortoise Care and Maintenance

“All facts for keepers of baby red-footed tortoises. They don’t really require a huge habitat. They are hard tortoises with no unusual nutritional needs.


The Baby Red-Footed Tortoises of South America have been among the most popular pet tortoises in the United States. Red-footed tortoises are native to temperate regions and have demonstrated adaptability to a variety of temperatures and habitats in captivity. Baby Red-footed tortoises are inexpensive and simple to care for. Baby red-footed tortoises are small enough for most people to hold. The head, legs, and carapace of baby red-footed tortoises are vividly colored. The Red-footed tortoise gets its name first from vivid patterns on its legs, which ranges from bright red to orange-yellow. The modest cost of red-footed tortoises, along with their inquisitive disposition, make them popular among tortoise keepers. The infant red-footed tortoise baby is a fascinating and loving creature that chooses to come outdoors. They are peaceful creatures who never attack. They can make an excellent pet.

Care Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Life expectancy: 50-80 years


Red-footed tortoise babies are omnivorous. To avoid excavation, baby red-footed tortoise habitats must have a solid wall at least 16 inches above ground and a couple inches underground. Because red-footed tortoises aren’t often excavating or digging tortoises, this isn’t as problematic as with most tortoise species. Transparent or see-through gates and barriers should be avoided since tortoises will attempt to flee via them if they see the other side. If the outdoor circumstances are too harsh for baby red-footed tortoises, they can be nurtured indoors. While outdoor habitation is favored whenever temperatures are within a tolerable range. The ideal environment of the baby red-footed tortoise fluctuates by area, but typically involves pretty regular seasonal temperatures around 30 °C that seldom drop below 20 °C or rise over 35 °C, as well as high relative humidity and sufficient rainfall.



A baby red-foot tortoise is a medium-sized aquatic turtle that rarely reach to 16 inches. Baby and juvenile red-footed tortoises tend to dry out much quicker than larger, more established tortoises. Red footed baby tortoises differ in size, coloration, and patterns across their broad range.

  • Baby and adult size

Red-footed tortoise babies are somewhere around two inches long, whereas adults are 11 to 14 inches long.

  • Male and female size

Overall, males are somewhat bigger than females. Females are 12 inches long and young males can weigh up to nine kg with 12-14 inches length. At 8 inches in size, sexual maturity is achieved.

Head and Eye

The head is tiny, with a contour and a leveled top. The eye is enormous, with a brown, nearly dark black iris and no apparent sclera in its surrounding.


The short stubby rear legs of the baby red-footed tortoise have been characterized as elephantine in appearance, whereas the larger frontal legs may be gathered together to shield the head and neck from attackers. Legs as well as the tail have red or orange plates. These colorful scales can enable the identification of baby red-footed tortoises.


The front limbs have five claws while the hind limbs have four.


The carapace of the red footed baby is usually black or deep brown, with a less bright splotch, within each scute. Upon that shell, the scutes could be seamless or slightly elevated. 


The baby red foot tortoise hatchlings have brightly colored carapace and limbs. It is preferable to pet a 6-month old well-established baby red foot tortoise over the endangered hatchling. Baby and young red-footed tortoises dry up significantly faster than average, fully mature tortoises. Red-footed tortoises are a visually appealing, placid turtle that is simpler to handle.


Aside from being highly gorgeous, these tortoises are also quite easy to care for because of their easy going nature and temperament. We may argue that temperament is characterized by scavengers who frequently hide, burrow, and bask. Baby red-footed tortoises’ behavior is not aggressive. Although these tortoises dislike constantly getting touched, they are not as fearful as other tortoises. Be as careful as possible and avoid making any unexpected or startling noises or movements.

The baby red-footed tortoise is usually active in the daytime. Their activities during happy hour include sunbathing, wandering, grazing, soaking, climbing, and digging. They can sometimes be fairly still and not particularly active for several hours. They like exploring and are a very inquisitive animal. They could recall where waterways, fruit trees, and some other supplies are located. This pet is not hostile and only displays violence around the mating process, when males compete for females.

Captive Behavior

In captivity, these adorable tortoises are timid, hide frequently, and dig; this is normally a physical reaction if they’re with predators. They tend not to be touched as usual, yet they are placid and convenient. 

Behavior with other Pets

These reptiles avoid living in the same space as other creatures that may harm them. Keep the baby red-footed tortoise away from other pets outside the aquarium. Make certain that the baby red-footed tortoise is not left alone with some other large creature, such as a dog. Keep animals and tortoises separate from each other.


Baby red-footed tortoises don’t really breed until they hit the age of 8 inches. Adult red-footed tortoises often aim to discover if the neighbors are male or female. When a male finds a female, he generally follows her, making a string of noises till she is ready to procreate. Approximately six weeks following copulation, the female will dig out a breeding location. Generally, eggs will take roughly five months to hatch.


It’s necessary to keep in mind while feeding red-footed tortoise babies that they aren’t choosy over what they consume. It is challenging to discuss the baby red-footed tortoises’ diet since they eat a wide array of foods. Because the food they consume is seasonal, it is far harder to get access to fruits and veggies they enjoy in their diet. The diet varies depending on the season and what is available. Mostly during rainfall, it might be around 70% fruit, 25% fresh leaves and buds, and the remainder fungus and animal fodder. Even if other meals seem to be more widely accessible, these omnivores seek out calcium-rich diets. 

Diet of baby red-footed tortoise

Baby red-footed tortoises are opportunistic feeders in the wild. Despite eating mostly plant materials, such as grasses, fruits, and veggies, they still require nutrition to be healthy. If baby red-footed tortoises eat a decent, high-protein diet, they may be able to survive for a longer period of time. The vegetation and protein content of the red footed tortoise diet should differ based on the environment and the season of year.

Adding Proteins and Minerals

They are not basking creatures in the usual sense, however they enjoy a warm sunbeam just like the cold-blooded pet. The food of red-footed tortoises must contain more calcium and D3 than sunlight. Adequate protein and healthful nutrients should be a part of their daily diet. It is critical to understand that some plant materials, greens, and vegetables are rich in proteins. As a general rule, a tortoise multivitamin supplement should be included on the diet sheet once every between 1 to 2 weeks. Calcium foods must be phosphorus-free or phosphorus-limited.

Adding Veggies and Fruits

Mulberry, hibiscus, and grape are examples of acceptable leaves and blooms. Spring mixes and dark, vibrant lettuces are also good choices for a diet cycle. Apples, bananas, melons, plums, and tomatoes are some of the fruits. Fruit is the most important component of the baby red-footed tortoise diet. Baby red-footed tortoises appreciate the Mazuri tortoise food just more than any other tortoise, and it is a wonderful additional diet since it covers any nutritional gaps that another diet may have overlooked.

Adding Water

Water dishes or mini ponds must be provided in the outside habitats of red-footed tortoises. Clean fresh water should be fully accessible and it should be offered in a shallow dish that would be deep enough for the red-footed baby tortoise to immerse both its snout and lips to drink. Make it easy for red-footed tortoise babies to climb in and out. Cleaning will be simplified by using shallow, close to the bottom dishes. Sanitation must be done routinely because most tortoises drink and urinate in their plates. Baby red-footed tortoises require more water in the summer since they consume so little in the winter.

Feeding Schedule

Make a schedule for two days of meals and two days off before feeding the baby red footed tortoise. For the first two days, eat greens, then fruit for the next two. You can also use a combination of these two, and also some animal protein. Feed the red-footed tortoises as much as they can eat in 30 minutes. You can supply 2 sets per day to avoid food waste.

Avoided Foods

Whereas baby red footed tortoises have a diverse diet, a variety of things are explicitly banned for them due to a variety of side effects. Many foods provide little nutritional value, may inhibit nutrient absorption, or may have other negative health effects. The foods listed above should be avoided on the red foot tortoise diet. Among them are:

Iceberg lettuce, celery, and cucumber.



Mustard green

Grains of all types

Beet greens, broccoli, and rhubarb

Citrus-flavored fruits.


Growing up, red-footed tortoise babies can live for up to 90 years. The average lifetime is 50-90 years, although it is thought that in captivity, they may survive much longer if properly maintained. When treated properly, it is assumed for a red-footed baby tortoise to live to be 75 years old.


Indoor red-footed baby tortoise habitats may be built using a wide range of substrates. Cypress mulch has shown to be an excellent substrate for tortoises of all kinds. It is the most responsive and reasonably priced. Coconut coir and peat moss are other viable choices. Sphagnum moss is the preferred substrate for red foot hatchlings. It must be kept moist since the hatchlings burrow through it. Sphagnum may be used with play sand and coconut coir to create a high-quality substrate.

External habitats don’t require sophisticated substrates as long as the soil is free from artificial pesticides or chemicals. A moister environment aids in the smooth growth of their carapace and keeps the tortoises hydrated

Turtle Safety and Hygiene

Red-footed tortoise babies must be bathed on a frequent basis to stay clean. Turtle waste must be cleaned from the cage on a regular basis, and the ground material have to be changed at least every two months.


Housing and Temperature

Outdoor baby red-footed tortoises are easy to handle in many respects, including their tolerance to a wide variety of temperatures. They don’t mind intense heat as long as the baby red-footed tortoise has a designated sheltered spot to retreat to if required. Adult red-footed tortoises may be maintained outside in temperatures as high as 115 degrees F without experiencing thermal resistance. They can also survive in temperatures below 45 degrees. Heat, light, and moisture levels must always be maintained in only safe limits for better and healthier tortoises. Red-footed tortoises are quite productive when the temperature is between 27 and 30 degrees Celsius.

The internal housing of the tank must be 19 m long, 15 m broad, and 7 m deep. This tank size can let you raise your ideal pet in a magnificent, safe air circulation environment. Rubbermaid storage boxes work well as the young red-footed turtle matures into an adult.

Outdoor Habitat

Baby red footed tortoise outdoor habitat is regarded as more pleasant than indoor habitat, not only because they have more room, but mostly because they are forest tortoises. They catch direct sunlight as well as UV radiation from the sun. During hatchling season, the outdoor habitat temperature should be around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.If the temperature goes below this level, it is forbidden to take the tortoise outside. If the red footed tortoise’s outdoor environment becomes chilly and cool, the turtle must be relocated indoors. A baby red-footed tortoise habitat outside should include both direct sunlight and a hiding space.

Outdoors over Indoors

When the temperature rises over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, red footed tortoise babies should be kept outside. It is not just about the substrate, humidity and light when outdoor habitat is preferable over indoor habitat for baby red footed tortoises. Baby red footed tortoise outdoor habitats are more adaptable since they can absorb natural sunlight as well as UV rays and hide when necessary. Even if you have a permanent outdoor enclosure, a temporary indoor enclosure is also required.

Habitat Size

Red footed tortoise babies are the preferred species since they may live alone or with pairs or groups. The best housemates are two men or two women. A single baby red footed tortoise will necessitate a minimum of a 55-gallon tank once reach adulthood, and it may require far more space as it grows. A relatively large habitat will also be required for many tortoises. Assure that the tortoise’s tank top is protected. If the tank is appropriately implemented, a red-footed tortoise can live for more than 50 years. Adult habitats should be at minimum 6′ x 4′ for hatchlings and 10-20 gallon tanks for hatchlings in the start.

Add ONs in the Tank

  1. Layer the baby red-footed tortoise’ tank’s bottom with 2 to 3 inches of coconut-fiber or cypress-bark substrate. 
  2. Offer a pleasant small water container with ample room for the tortoises to wash. 
  3. Grasses and organic or fake plants can be added to the habitat. 
  4. Create a huge hideout on the colder end of the aquarium. 
  5. Check that nothing else in the tortoise’s enclosure wobbles or falls over after the tortoise climbs upon that.


Lighting must be minimal and diffuse, or there should be more than enough shade. A UVB lamp inside housing is required to assist them in effectively processing the calcium in their food. When put above the head, it doesn’t cause eye injury. Lights have to be on twelve hours a day, and a modest radiant heater can indeed be utilized beneath or above the hidden container area all day. Lighting timings ensure that the light process is regular and simple. Once mature, red-foots may tolerate varying levels of temperature in captivity, but babies must be treated humid to get good smooth shell development within their first few years.

While the tortoise is kept in a Tank, it really is necessary that it gets the adequate UVB lighting to assist in the manufacture and consumption of vitamin D3. Since little light penetrates the forest floor in their natural habitat, 5 percent UVB should be employed. If the weather cooperates, the baby red-footed tortoise can be brought outside during the summertime to thrive from ambient sunshine. 

As baby red-footed tortoises command a high amount of humidity, hence humidity levels in the tank should be kept between 70% and 90%. Insufficient humidity might cause respiratory difficulties and eye irritation. Experts recommend a 100-500 watt mercury-vapor bulb to keep a hot area at 95 degrees. Because red-footed baby tortoises bask in warm places, they normally absorb a high amount of UVB from the sunlight. The UVB in their container must indicate this.


Consider giving the red footed tortoise warm, fresh water. If baby red-footed tortoises are given a relatively shallow water area in which to bask or soak. When they’re 2 years old, red footed tortoises need to be soaked for a few (approximately 10) minutes nearly every day because soaking is very important for baby red-footed tortoises. Water scares babies until they become accustomed to it. Adult Red-foots will sit in water or dirt for extended periods of time. Tortoises in shallow water typically begin ingesting and flushing their faeces at the same timing.


Male red-footed tortoises are bigger and heavier.Female red-footed tortoises are often shorter and lighter.
The male tortoise moves its head and swings its head.If the turtle does not swing its head, it is female.
The belly or bottom shell of male baby red-footed tortoises is curled like a bowl.Females have flatter stomachs, although they are not fully flat.
They can grow approximately 13 inches in length.They can grow approximately 11.25 inches in length.
Usually they have longer tails than females.They have a small and stubby tail.


The most common health diseases found in baby red-footed tortoises are the following.

Respiratory Infection

Frequent and fatal sickness that affects a large number of pet tortoises is respiratory infection. Red-footed tortoise babies are extremely vulnerable to respiratory disorders. Some symptoms to look out for include a runny or stuffy nose, hard inhalation and exhalation, decreased appetite, and reduced activity. Bacteria, fungal or parasite illnesses can all induce respiratory disorders in baby red-footed tortoises. Vitamin deficiencies, as well as excessively high or low humidity or heat dissipation, are major causes of respiratory sickness in all chelonians. These illnesses are potentially communicable to other tortoises and need rapid medical intervention.


  • Internal Parasites

Internal infections inside the digestive system can be found in any tortoise and can worsen the issues of an already unwell creature. The easiest method to avoid this would be to undergo annual faecal tests. Roundworms and Protozoa are two most frequent endo-parasites. Such parasites can be acquired by baby red-footed tortoises via their feed, the surroundings, and from one another. To avoid a loss in health, an overgrowth of parasites should be cured by a skilled reptile veterinarian.

  • External Parasites

Ticks, mites, and flies are examples of external parasites. Ticks are more like an actual issue with imported red-footed baby tortoises’ health. Burrowing often occurs in the upper legs, throat, and tail. Mites are uncommon, however they can be acquired from the other tortoises. Usually mites are black or red in color and nearly the size of a pumpkin seed. Flies are typically drawn to injuries and scratches and therefore will lay the eggs in them.

Shell Rot

Swollen eyes in red-footed tortoises could be due to vitamin A deficiency, poor nutrition, or severe infection. Most typically, swollen closed eyelids occur when a tortoise has refused to eat or is not receiving adequate nutrition. Swollen eyes are frequently associated with an ear infection, although they can sometimes be caused by a completely local illness. A skin antibiotic or an antibacterial injection will be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Pyramidal Growth

When a tortoise obtains far too much protein, is obese and overweight, has poor habitat humidity levels, insufficient hydration, or a calcium deficit, pyramiding occurs frequently. When the carapace of a baby red-footed tortoise seems rough but each scute is not that much elevated from the rest, this indicates that pyramiding is less severe.

There are two kinds of pyramiding. One sort of pyramiding is a health ailment that does not have any obvious symptoms. Type two is frequently severe and produces serious cosmetic abnormalities. When it concerns pyramiding growth syndrome, underlying shell growth is critical. It is difficult to tell if a baby red-footed tortoise has parasites if it is too little.

Metabolic Bone Disease

MBD refers to a group of conditions characterized by bone weakness or reduced system functioning induced by a calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D3 deficiency. It is among the most prevalent medical issues in reptiles, and it is frequently caused by insufficient calcium levels in the food or insufficient UVB sunlight, which is required for assimilation of calcium. The danger of MBD can be reduced by placing a cuttlebone in the container.

Empty Gut Syndrome

Once protozoans are cured, they might sweep out all the healthy bacterias in the gut, resulting in improper digestion of food. Unabsorbed foodstuff will be found in the faeces. A tiny quantity of healthy snacks like yogurt can be added to the tortoise’s food to help rebuild the bacteria.

Ear Infection

Ear infections in baby red-footed tortoises are common and are mainly caused by common bacteria. Among the most common causes of ear infection is poor husbandry. One can detect swelling in the cheeks either behind the jaw. Because red foot baby tortoises lack an open, outer ear canal, any infection inside the ear refuses to move and accumulates as a big pocket of pus. Ear abscesses can arise in tortoises when their immune system is repressed due to stress, if they’ve been in a poor environment, if they have recently endured a fatal injury, if they have recently been subjected to pesticides, or when they have an undernutrition.

The conditions under which the disease occur

  1. Calcium Deficiency
  2. Dehydration
  3. Overfeeding
  4. Humidity Levels
  5. Lack of Sunlight
  6. Lack of exercise
  7. Natural Abrasion


Baby red foot tortoises are among the most easygoing and low-maintenance tortoise species. They, just like every other reptile, require study to ensure you can provide them with the utmost care and lifetime possible. The red-footed tortoise baby is the ideal pet for all pet lovers, regardless of experience level. When they hit adulthood, a baby red foot turtle will reach a size of 14. These are the most valuable species that will enhance and add value to your aquarium. Consider the baby red-footed tortoise size when selecting whether to build or buy a temporary or permanent home. Every facet of captive husbandry should be given equal consideration.


Q1. What makes a Red-Footed Tortoise distinctive?

Among all tortoises, red-foot tortoises are a popular choice and pet. A baby red-footed tortoise might be an excellent substitute to any other pet.

Q2. Do red-footed tortoises enjoy being handled?

Baby red-footed tortoises tend to not be touched usually, yet they are gentle and convenient. Considering the absence of teeth, their claws are robust and therefore can attack.

Q3. What exactly is head bobbing?

Head bobbing is a typical characteristic of red-footed tortoise babies. When taking in air, they bob their heads to beat their throats

Q4. What Is the Price of a Red-Footed Tortoise?

The Red-Footed Tortoise usually costs between $150 and $300. Check to see if they are legal in your area before purchasing.

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