An important thing to remember when feeding redfoot tortoise babies like the Red-Footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria)aren’t picky about what they eat.
Like most forest tortoise species, they will eat a wide variety of different foods. However, you must still ensure that they are getting properly nourished by what you’re feeding them. Red-footed tortoises are easy to acquire, are simple to take care of, remain a size that most can easily handle. Red-footed tortoises do well in Florida because this species is native to moderate climates. This species along with the Yellowfoot tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulatus), are hardy and have shown an ability to adapt to various climates and habitats in captivity.
The Redfoot Tortoise needs more fruit than you might think…
The Redfoot Tortoise is an omnivorous reptile that needs both plants and animals included in its diet. When living in the wild, redfoot tortoises eat, on average, the following ratios: 55% fruit, 35% greens, and 10% protein diet.
It is generally thought that red-footed tortoises need more protein in their diet than many other species. While we don’t offer ours a direct source of protein, they probably do take the opportunity to eat an earthworm or a grub if they come across them in their enclosures. Some keepers offer insects as a supplemental food source (waxworms, mealworms, superworms or earthworms). Some even offer baby mice as a protein source in the diet of their captive red-footed tortoises.
We have found that a 50/50 ratio of fruits and vegetables works well, with only a minimal amount of protein added on occasion. Studies have shown that neurological problems and hind leg paralysis can develop if the redfoot does not get some animal protein, so be certain not to feed it a strictly vegetarian diet. Low fertility rates have also been linked to vegetarian diets. It is easy to feed your redfoot the wide variety it needs to thrive and stay in top physical condition.
This ratio is completely opposite of desert species of tortoises such as the African Spur Thigh. Click to go to the page that goes into feeding the African Tortoise.
What types of vegetation should your redfoot tortoise consume?
The vast majority of its diet should consist of differing types of leafy greens, vegetables, grasses, and really any kind of fruit. Leafy greens are low in phosphorous, but high in calcium, These are important things that the redfoot needs to stay healthy.
Allowing your tortoises to be free range will allow them to scavenge and find sources of protein.
- Once per month, adding a portion of mushrooms, such as portabellas, or shitakes also contributes to redfoot health. Mushrooms are mineral rich, but should only be given once a month due to their containing other things that are not good for the redfoot in large quantity, so use sparingly. Even in the wild, redfoot tortoises will eat them, sparingly.
- Other plant-based foods found in the redfoot diet include an array of flowers, including roses, hibiscus, and dandelions. Hosta and mulberry leaves can be consumed too.
- Spring mixes (particularly with baby red-footed tortoises), which have several leafy ingredients in them, adding kale, collard greens, turnip greens and any of the darker lettuce types. Rotating to provide the widest range of variety.
- You should use Mazuri brand foods at least once per week. Mazuri tortoise diet is higher in protein than a normal vegetarian tortoise diet.
- Cactus pads have become a major part of the diet of many of our tortoises.
- Variety is the key.