The South American yellow-footed tortoise is an omnivorous reptile, which feeds on a variety of leaves, vines, roots, bark, fruits and flowers, as well as fungi, insects and snails (7), and the rotting flesh of dead animals such as deer, armadillos, porcupines and snakes (4). Bizarrely, soil, sand and pebbles are also consumed; these abrasive objects presumably assist the digestion of foods, as this tortoise has a tendency to swallow foods whole (7).
Fruits are a major part of the diet throughout the year, but particularly during the wet season (7). Male South American yellow-footed tortoises become more active during periods of fruit abundance, and may even synchronise their mating periods with this season, when the fruits provide them with more energy to move around in search of females (4). During the mating period, the male sniffs the cloacal region of the female, before proceeding to push, ram and bite her, before commencing mating. It is thought that several clutches of eggs are laid each year, each containing up to twenty eggs, but averaging four to eight. The elongated, brittle-shelled eggs are incubated for four to five months (2).