IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

Most activity occurs in spring, particularly during the mornings, when the Chaco tortoise feeds primarily on plants of the Plantago genus. In summer, the diet comprises grasses, succulents and fruits of perennial shrubs. In northern Patagonia, at the beginning of each spring the Chaco tortoise digs short burrows (50 – 60 cm) in sandy soils, in which it seeks refuge at night and during the mid-day heat. Dens are also constructed, but these are much deeper (usually over 2 m), dug in hard soil and used over several seasons. In the southernmost part of its range, this species has been reported to hibernate for as long as five months in burrows or dens (2). Mating occurs during November and December, and nesting from January to March. During the breeding season, males aggressively defend their territories from rivals, biting their enemy on the forelimbs, sometimes inflicting bleeding wounds (2) (5). Up to three clutches of one to seven eggs may be laid each season, which hatch after 12 to 16 months. Sexual maturity is thought to be reached at 12 years (2).

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Source: ARKive

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