Exotic reptiles: Carbonaria tortoise Geochelone carbonaria

Exotic reptiles: Carbonaria tortoise Geochelone carbonaria

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Reptiles
Order: Testudines
Suborders: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Geochelone
Species: G. carbonaria Spix, 1824
Chelonoidis carbonaria

The species is native to South America and more precisely to areas adjacent to the Amazon River basin: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil up to northern Argentina, Trinidad, Paraguay, Bolivia and some Caribbean islands (Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua , Virgin Islands). It occupies open areas of wet savannas and tropical forests. He loves spacious, warm and humid environments and avoids direct sunlight.


The average dimensions are around 29-40 cm in length. The carapace is smooth, robust and elongated, mainly dark or blackish in color with large yellow or yellowish or orange or red-orange areoles of the dorsal and lateral shields. This species is devoid of nuchal scutum. The plate is almost or completely yellow with a rhombus-shaped spot more or less extended coinciding with the center of the plate itself, with areas tending to black at the edges of the shields. The skin of the head, tail and legs is mainly black or dark gray with spots on the yellow or orange-red scales, more intense on the 4 legs.

Carbonaria tortoise - Carbonate geochelone (photo

Carbonaria tortoise - Carbonate geochelone (photo


This species does not hibernate, therefore indoor accommodation is required during the cold season.
The terrarium should be set up so that you can maintain a daytime temperature of 32 ° C in the hot area and 23-25 ​​° C in the cool area, with a nightly drop of up to 21 degrees for puppies and 19/20 for adults. Humidity must be high (about 80%) it is useful to keep a large and low bowl for water. For the bottom you can use sphagnum peat with normal soil, or coconut fiber mixed with soil.
The shape of the terrarium is important for it to be rectangular with large shelters and food should be administered in the cooler area.
When the outside temperatures stabilize and do not drop below 19 degrees at night, they can stay outdoors, in enclosures well sheltered from the wind and very shady.


It is an omnivorous turtle, mainly herbivorous, field herbs when the season permits and in winter, in the absence of these, they can be replaced with chicory, escarole endive and radicchio. There must be absolutely a good amount of ripe fruit (pears, apples, apricots, peaches, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, melon, figs and bananas) and invertebrates (snails, earthworms, snails, insects). Mushrooms and proteins can occasionally be supplied in the form of dog food (a few times a month).


In captivity, sexual maturity is reached at the age of 7-9 years and about 25 cm of plate.
Mating occurs regularly all year round: the male moves his head to the right and left, attracted by the bright colors of the female's legs, during mating, absolutely non-aggressive, he emits guttural sounds.
The female carries out on average 4-5 depositions per year at intervals of about 30 days of 4-6 eggs at a time.
In the period when the females are close to spawning it is important to supply cuttlefish bone and vitamins with calcium.
The eggs are incubated at 29-30.5 ° C. More information on


It is advisable to breed only specimens born in captivity and not those imported from South America as they arrive in very bad health, completely dehydrated and often with pathologies that often cause their death.

Video: Reptile Zoo at the mall! (August 2022).