DWARF "Cherryhead" vs "Regular" redfoot

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Redfoot NERD

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This one hopefully will answer a lot of Q?'s!!!

Everyone has a Guru / Mentor - Carl was mine. He is in FL.. and shared a couple of his '05 Brazilian's with me. One of which has the nice looking "marbling" on the carapace.. and I'm quite sure is a male! The other looks to be a female and she is starting to show some marbling also. I've posted the male in another thread. The "marbling" didn't start to show until over a year old.. and to the best of my knowledge none of Carl's adults display it!

These are 2 emails I received from Carl:
1)
Joe's animals are long termers from the 1985 Pet Farm shipment. But they are not Paraguayan as cherryheads are simply NOT found there. Or if they are, it is only in a tiny portion of the country. But the German researchers that I know who LIVE IN PARAGUAY, and who have studied the redfoots for years, assure me that they are NOT found there at all.
All of the confusion regarding so called "Paraguayan" cherryheads is from the fact that Brazilian animals were shipped from Paraguay back then----although they certainly were not collected from there.
Brazil was closed to exportation so the simple way around that was to truck hundreds of (actually, the one shipment consisted of nearly 5000 animals) tortoises into Paraguay and then send them to the USA from there. I know this for a fact as I have two friends who managed the reptile department at Pet Farm at the time. They were the ones who told me of this.
But since they were called 'Paraguayan' redfoots by Pet Farm back then (remember, Brazil was closed so Pet Farm calling them Brazilian Redfoots was tantamount to admitting they were illegally obtained) the name has stuck. But all of these animals being called true Paraguayan cherryheads is nonsense.

2)
You ask a question that I get asked all the time and it is sort of difficult to answer as these redfoots are variable in color. Also, officially there is only one recognized species of redfoot which is carbonaria. More work on the taxonomy is needed but don't hold your breath.
But having said that, anyone who has dealt with the various forms or 'races' of RF that have been imported over the years can see that there are different populations.
Regardless of what many breeders might say, ALL of the so called cherryhead RFs originate from the state of Bahia, Brazil and possibly Minas Gerais, Brazil.
There are no Bolivian or Paraguayan cherryheads. The myth of such animals is based on misinformation given out by the major importer of these tortoises back in the early 80s.
The redfoots found in both Bolivia and Paraguay are a completely different animal even though some of them might have reddish heads. They can be separated from the eastern Brazil RFs in a number of ways but size is the most obvious. Some of the Bolivia/Paraguay tortoises can grow to be gigantic in size and 17 to 20 inch adults are not at all rare. In fact, my friend Jim Buskirk measured one adult male in Paraguay that was over 24 inches.
The name cherryhead in itself is very misleading. If you have seen very big groups of imported cherryheads the first thing you notice is that their heads can be red, orange, yellowish, coral and even pink. Most are some shade of orange with or without a pinkish tinge to the nasal area. Only really exceptional individuals have the bright red head and eyes that everyone expects them to have based on the stupid name cherryhead. BTW, that name was a marketing ploy used to boost sales of them back when pricelists were only printed on paper and there was no Internet with color photos.
In addition, while many of these RFs have extremely pretty color, most of them do not have much of it. So even if you have a cherryhead with bright red color, it may only have a few red scales on each leg and its head may be mostly grey with that bright red limited to the major head scutes. Of course, the best of these RFs are stunning with lots of color on both the legs and head. But again, these are the exceptions.
The plastron of these RFs is quite distinct from the more northern populations. As hatchlings they have all of the scute seams outlined in dark brown (see photo). As adults most have dark plastrons with varying amounts of ivory or dirty yellow mottling. Some have mostly light plastrons with scattered dark marbling.
But this is always different from the pale yellow with or without the central hourglass marking that northern RFs have.
As regards size it is true that most of the originally imported cherryheads were rather small but appeared to be adult.
This was especially true of males which often showed sexual dimorphism when only about 6 inches total length.
BUT, after a number of years most of these so called 'dwarfs' (another misleading name) grew to be decent sized redfoots. I had a male years ago that grew to be nearly 14 inches. I have a female now who is nearly 13 inches and she just began laying eggs last year... at 10 years of age.
It is true though that these Rfs are smaller than say the above mentioned Bolivian and Paraguayan tortoises. Also, the average Suriname RF is larger too. But the Colombian RFs that I had in the 70s and 80s were about the same size, if not smaller.

19720yoke_sac_cleanly_absorbed-med.jpg


So "dwarf's" were males that "looked" older.. remember the less than 7" that "looked" and is now an adult male.. which has grown OVER 2" in 2 years - now over 9" and still growing!

Are we learning anything? Any Q?'s ask...

Terry
 

TestudoGeek

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thanks. this was helpfull. so cherryheads aren't dwarf RF's after all.
it's the Colombian RFs that are smaller, right? do you own any? how big can they get?
 

Redfoot NERD

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TG be sure and look back thru the RF threads and you'll see MOST of my "proven" adult females are Colombians. They range from 10" - over 12" [ 27cm - 31+cm ] And they just turned 9 in Oct. '07! Thank you for recognizing the spelling of "Colombian".

See how even at just over 6" they look to be "adults" -

Good 'smooth' growth..

[IMG=640x480]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v41/clemmysman/CHERRYS/056inmale.jpg[/IMG]

Nice plastron "marbling"..

[IMG=640x480]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v41/clemmysman/CHERRYS/05MARBLEP.jpg[/IMG]

The "concavity" is even starting to show.. check out that tail and wide anal scutes on this guy that is only 2 yrs and 10 months old!

[IMG=640x480]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v41/clemmysman/CHERRYS/05MALEP.jpg[/IMG]

NO DWARF G. carbonaria IN THIS CAMP!!!
 

Chucky

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So what's the difference between the ColUmbians and the ColOmbians??? :) :) :)

Sorry, just had to do that
 

Redfootedboxturtles

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Terry, so you are saying there are no "dwarf redfoots" if so what would you call all that advertising for dwarfs we see on the internet?

Kinda off the main topic.
Terry you might want to look into this but I am sure that Colombians aren't dwarf or smaller at all. If you research the breeding population in Barbados its said that those animals where brought from Colombia. The evidence is in the coloring of the red foots from Barbados. They hatch a variety of orange, yellows and reds like the Colombians.
 

Redfoot NERD

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TestudoGeek said:
thanks. this was helpfull. so cherryheads aren't dwarf RF's after all.
it's the Colombian RFs that are smaller, right? do you own any? how big can they get?

TG.. don't expect any redfoot to stop growing at 10 years old and 10" [ 26cm ] SCL.

Terry
 

Redfoot NERD

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Redfootedboxturtles said:
Terry, so you are saying there are no "dwarf redfoots" if so what would you call all that advertising for dwarfs we see on the internet?

Kinda off the main topic.
Terry you might want to look into this but I am sure that Colombians aren't dwarf or smaller at all. If you research the breeding population in Barbados its said that those animals where brought from Colombia. The evidence is in the coloring of the red foots from Barbados. They hatch a variety of orange, yellows and reds like the Colombians.

The advertising is FALSE!

Vince.. never claimed that Colombians are dwarfs. And not sure what the colors have to do with it (?).

Terry
 

Redfoot NERD

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Chucky said:
So what's the difference between the ColUmbians and the ColOmbians??? :) :) :)

Sorry, just had to do that

Probably US state names.. AND South America country name.. sorry 'bout that.
 

TestudoGeek

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Redfoot NERD said:
TG.. don't expect any redfoot to stop growing at 10 years old and 10" [ 26cm ] SCL.

Terry

yeah, I know. I've given up on them because of that.
it's a pitty though, because my father lives in Brazil, so it would be relatively easy to bring one home when I visit him...
 

Itort

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I think they are native to Xanadu.
 

ArkansasKelly

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What about all the other rumors one hears about "cherryheads"? The one that keeps coming to mind for me is the marbeling. People say that only the "true" Brazillian has marbeling. Well, if that is true, what would all the other cherryheads be considered?

Very confusing!

ARKelly
 

Itort

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Actually, I'm waiting to hear of some serious field work done through out the range. Espically south of the Amazon basin. The about true Brazilian, what are we calling a Brazilian. Brazil is a large country with many different habitats and biomes.
 

Redfoot NERD

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Larry it's unlikely there will be any considerable research done thru-out their range.. at least according to my sources.. for that very reason! A Brazilian is probably one from where they have originated from????? Reports are that the ones in "our" collections were collected from a relatively small region of central east Brazil. And a number from this "farm" are coming in as juveniles.. notice few "marbled" ones in the pics.. http://www.geochelone.com.br:80/usa/index.cfm

Kelly the carapace marbling of Brazilians.. AKA Cherryheads.. appears to be "who knows"! It appears in lone individuals in a clutch from a colony with no marbling within any of the adults.

I'll ask around...

Terry
 

JustAnja

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They look pretty well taken care of at that farm and he seems to have a true passion for them. He also returns part of the hatchlings to the wild so he is basically doing a jump start program for them like we do several native turtle species here in the states. We have an Ornate Box Turtle jump start program here in WI run by the DNR.
 

Redfoot NERD

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cdmay said:
Wow, they look nice. Good job raising them I would say.

Hello and welcome cdmay,

Thank you for the compliments.. I had the best teacher and mentor!

What would you say causes some of the Brazilians to have the "marbled" carapace.. and others don't?

Terry
 

cdmay

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What would you say causes some of the Brazilians to have the "marbled" carapace.. and others don't?

The marbling is genetic I think. One female I have produces some very marbled hatchlings (they begin to show this trait at a few months of age) while another female of mine doesn't produce them. This is when the two females are bred with the same male, BTW.
Also, I have found that adults with large amounts of the marbled trait likewise produce some really marbled hatchlings. But, it is quite variable within a group of hatchlings.

ps....yes, it is great to be a 'newbie'
 

Redfoot NERD

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May I introduce my friend and mentor Carl? There is not one in my humble years of raising and now breeding G. carbonaria.. AKA Redfoot tortoises.. that has helped as even a distant second than Carl May! He has been there in the past to answer every one of my Q?'s.. and there were a zillion! Hopefully he is willing to share.

Thanks Carl.

And yes Terryo I am humble.. unfortunately few recognize it - which is my fault - Robyn does.

Terry
 

Crazy1

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Thanks Terry, I thought it was quite obviouse. Nice introduction Terry. Welcome Carl I know you will be such an asset to this site and already are to many and to the torts in your care.
 
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