The Feral Kid

cdmay

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Some months ago a neighbor of mine called me to report that another neighbor had found one of my missing tortoises. "Oh yeah, its exactly like your other ones, just smaller. But the same markings and color"
The thing was, I wasn't missing any of my tortoises. Or was I?
You see for over 20 years my wife and I have been keeping and breeding the type of red-foot tortoise often called 'cherryhead' or more properly, Brazilian red-foots. Courting, mating and egg laying has been the routine in our back yard for many years. Usually I find the females either nesting, preparing to nest, or I see evidence of a nest and thus we retrieve most eggs. But not all. Each year we will find a number of 'yard incubated' neonates from nests that we, the local Raccoon Clan and the Possum People-- that cruise my yard at night-- have missed. In fact, a number of such have been discovered by neighbors next door, two homes over and even across the street. Typically they are freshly hatched or but a few months old. Sometimes they have been larger. A few years back a perfect 3.5 inch individual was found next door and last year one 4.5 inches was found two houses over.
For a long time my fence prevented the larger tortoises from escaping, but not the very small animals. That's been fixed. Um, mostly anyway.

Here is what happened this last time, a neighbor was walking her dog one evening along with her adult Autistic daughter. The daughter discovered this little guy sitting alongside the road a block south of me. But instead of being just a recent hatchling, this particular animal was a full 6.5 inches! That means that he had been wandering around the neighborhood for, what? Three or four years? Maybe more.
That's three or four years feeding on weeds, garden plants, hiding in hedges and the like. Most of our neighbors have lushly planted tropical gardens while conversely, there are some homes with overgrown and weedy yards. There is even a double vacant lot that has been overrun by weeds and grass for 30+ years. That particular property also has five enormous old mango trees that dump loads of fruit from late April to August. That is also precisely where this little one was found.
In addition he had endured at least a few winters outside when the temperatures dropped to the upper 30s or low 40s on several occasions. And temperatures in the 50s numerous times.
Here is the foundling I called The Feral Kid...

FK1_zpsreqqxfns.jpg


Wow, what a perfect shell too. Pretty sure no one was giving him cat food or chicken...

FK3_zpse4p343cn.jpg


Maybe he did (yes, its a little boy) run across the occasional stray cat poop. But certainly no dead animals laying all around. This aint that kind of neighborhood...

DSCN6796_zpsq7lgig2y.jpg


Nice plastron too. There was a bit of fungus here but it's been addressed.

DSCN6798_zpswzd4ejsn.jpg


One last pic of him...

FK2_zpshlnk2fel.jpg


I know what some of you are thinking...'why is his face yellow? How is that a Brazilian?' Actually, in the above photo the camera flash makes it appear a lot more golden that it really is. But, there is definite yellow there and I can tell you why.
Here is his mom...

Marty%2010-18_zpsnyyys2li.jpg


This is Marty. We've had Marty for over 11 years now. Marty has what is a bit unusual for a cherryhead and that is she possesses a yellow color to her face and nares. This color is often passed onto her young. Not always, but when bred with a particular male of mine who also has some yellow on his face, she will.
Marty also has the 'red striped pants' on her rear legs that again, isn't all that rare, but it a bit unusual for this race. These two traits made identifying the Feral Kid as Marty's pretty easy. I have hatched quite a number from her and after a couple hundred, you just sort of know.
 

T Smart

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Wow, very cool!

Any chance you have a thread with pictures of your setup? I’d love to see it.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Very cool
Last year I also found an unknown to me baby RF. It had been developing and hatched in the same time that we had some nights in the high 40s.
This was also an egg that went unnoticed and hatched and hid so well it continued to remain unfound for several months. Although mine is slightly pyramided and a little rough looking around the edges. He or she is now about a year old.
This baby also ate God only knows what and survived none the less.
I have little doubt he would've continued to thrive on his own.
Tough little things...
 

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Maro2Bear

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Great story. One of these days/months we hope to relocate from up north to Florida. I’m looking forward to year-round green grass, weeds, flowers and ever present “stuff” for our Sully. Hopefully, enough space to raise a few Redfoots.

Nice work both you and Mother Nature.
 

Anyfoot

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Some months ago a neighbor of mine called me to report that another neighbor had found one of my missing tortoises. "Oh yeah, its exactly like your other ones, just smaller. But the same markings and color"
The thing was, I wasn't missing any of my tortoises. Or was I?
You see for over 20 years my wife and I have been keeping and breeding the type of red-foot tortoise often called 'cherryhead' or more properly, Brazilian red-foots. Courting, mating and egg laying has been the routine in our back yard for many years. Usually I find the females either nesting, preparing to nest, or I see evidence of a nest and thus we retrieve most eggs. But not all. Each year we will find a number of 'yard incubated' neonates from nests that we, the local Raccoon Clan and the Possum People-- that cruise my yard at night-- have missed. In fact, a number of such have been discovered by neighbors next door, two homes over and even across the street. Typically they are freshly hatched or but a few months old. Sometimes they have been larger. A few years back a perfect 3.5 inch individual was found next door and last year one 4.5 inches was found two houses over.
For a long time my fence prevented the larger tortoises from escaping, but not the very small animals. That's been fixed. Um, mostly anyway.

Here is what happened this last time, a neighbor was walking her dog one evening along with her adult Autistic daughter. The daughter discovered this little guy sitting alongside the road a block south of me. But instead of being just a recent hatchling, this particular animal was a full 6.5 inches! That means that he had been wandering around the neighborhood for, what? Three or four years? Maybe more.
That's three or four years feeding on weeds, garden plants, hiding in hedges and the like. Most of our neighbors have lushly planted tropical gardens while conversely, there are some homes with overgrown and weedy yards. There is even a double vacant lot that has been overrun by weeds and grass for 30+ years. That particular property also has five enormous old mango trees that dump loads of fruit from late April to August. That is also precisely where this little one was found.
In addition he had endured at least a few winters outside when the temperatures dropped to the upper 30s or low 40s on several occasions. And temperatures in the 50s numerous times.
Here is the foundling I called The Feral Kid...

FK1_zpsreqqxfns.jpg


Wow, what a perfect shell too. Pretty sure no one was giving him cat food or chicken...

FK3_zpse4p343cn.jpg


Maybe he did (yes, its a little boy) run across the occasional stray cat poop. But certainly no dead animals laying all around. This aint that kind of neighborhood...

DSCN6796_zpsq7lgig2y.jpg


Nice plastron too. There was a bit of fungus here but it's been addressed.

DSCN6798_zpswzd4ejsn.jpg


One last pic of him...

FK2_zpshlnk2fel.jpg


I know what some of you are thinking...'why is his face yellow? How is that a Brazilian?' Actually, in the above photo the camera flash makes it appear a lot more golden that it really is. But, there is definite yellow there and I can tell you why.
Here is his mom...

Marty%2010-18_zpsnyyys2li.jpg


This is Marty. We've had Marty for over 11 years now. Marty has what is a bit unusual for a cherryhead and that is she possesses a yellow color to her face and nares. This color is often passed onto her young. Not always, but when bred with a particular male of mine who also has some yellow on his face, she will.
Marty also has the 'red striped pants' on her rear legs that again, isn't all that rare, but it a bit unusual for this race. These two traits made identifying the Feral Kid as Marty's pretty easy. I have hatched quite a number from her and after a couple hundred, you just sort of know.
Nice story and looks mint that Carl.
I’m suprised it lasted 3 or 4 yrs without being seen whilst out basking. Or do you think it just hid away in fear until big and brave enough to venture out.
 

cdmay

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Nice story and looks mint that Carl.
I’m suprised it lasted 3 or 4 yrs without being seen whilst out basking. Or do you think it just hid away in fear until big and brave enough to venture out.

Thanks Anyfoot. I’m pretty sure people have likely seen it around a time or too. But they tend to ignore turtles as we have a golf course across the street that produces wandering turtles regularly.
As for basking, like our native box turtles, this one likely absorbed sunlight just by being outside and moving around.
 

Toddrickfl1

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That's awesome. When I was a kid in South Florida I found an adult Redfoot living in the Everglades.
 

Redstrike

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I have one Brazilian (all 4 of mine are from Allegra) that has the yellow highlights but it's no where near Feral Kid's. The one I have is from Lemon Head.

I really like the yellow and orange on Brazilian redcoats. Rambutan remains one of my favorite tortoises of all time and I was lucky to bag one of her hatchlings from Allegra. Surprisingly, that hatchling went from orange to a more muted red.

Pretty neat story. I do wonder if these guys ever become invasive and threaten gopher tortoises.
 

Relic

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Pretty cool to live in a neighborhood where Cherryheads are apt to pop-up in one's garden unexpectedly...any homes for sale nearby?
 

cdmay

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I have one Brazilian (all 4 of mine are from Allegra) that has the yellow highlights but it's no where near Feral Kid's. The one I have is from Lemon Head.

I really like the yellow and orange on Brazilian redcoats. Rambutan remains one of my favorite tortoises of all time and I was lucky to bag one of her hatchlings from Allegra. Surprisingly, that hatchling went from orange to a more muted red.

Pretty neat story. I do wonder if these guys ever become invasive and threaten gopher tortoises.

I doubt they would ever become invasive. But even if they did, gopher tortoises would kick their butts
 

cdmay

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Wow, very cool!

Any chance you have a thread with pictures of your setup? I’d love to see it.

They are essentially just in my back yard that is heavily planted out. Here are some actual un-staged images of a group of ground incubated neonates just as I found them. The camera lens was fogged because of the early morning humidity. I had poured down rain the previous night that cause the neonates to come out of their nest. As you can see. my fence wasn't escape proof for hatchlings. There are places along this fence line with even more open escape routes.

DSCN5342_zpsmkwnvyhs.jpg

DSCN5340_zpsuiixhfcx.jpg

DSCN5344_zpsnrewua71.jpg


DSCN5583_zpsksyzy2dl.jpg
 

allegraf

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You have one of the most inspiring yards that balance torts and bonsai. I’m glad you are back to the forum. I’m going to try to make more time to contribute as well.
 

Redstrike

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You have one of the most inspiring yards that balance torts and bonsai. I’m glad you are back to the forum. I’m going to try to make more time to contribute as well.

I can’t speak to the yard, but I’m also hoping to be on here a bit more than I have been.

Those are some good looking torts and well trained trees!

Allegra, would love to some Phoenix pictures since we’re on the topic of yellow Cherryheads...
 

Toddrickfl1

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You have one of the most inspiring yards that balance torts and bonsai. I’m glad you are back to the forum. I’m going to try to make more time to contribute as well.
I'm glad all these experienced Redfoot keepers are coming back to the forum. All it took was a little controversy lol. I'm trying to learn as much as I can to hopefully have my own little breeding group some day.
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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I'm glad all these experienced Redfoot keepers are coming back to the forum. All it took was a little controversy lol. I'm trying to learn as much as I can to hopefully have my own little breeding group some day.

My hope is to raise Darwin as well as I can, and in a few years to expand my redfoot farming to include a creep of 3-4 tortoises ... I definitely appreciate the caresheets people have been posting, as well as the discussion between and amongst the more experienced members ... I can't help feeling that the end result will be truly fantastic care instructions for the raising of redfoots.

I've distilled my own 2 page care-document from the various caresheets here on TFO, for use by people who drop in to check up on Darwin when I'm travelling, and am grateful to all of those who have contributed to the in-house knowledge-base.

Jamie
 

CharlieM

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Your yard is amazing. Who is the father? Moe?
 

Anyfoot

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@cdmay
The marbling on this beauty around the vertebral scutes is pretty recent. Is it normal for your offspring to start marbling at this size?
 

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