Animal Hospital of West Port St. Lucie

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Dr. Leonard Fox

Dr. Fox is proud of his accomplishments, which anyone can see as they drive down Port St. Lucie Boulevard. He is the proud father of two wonderful children, Terry and Melissa. Dr. Fox speaks both English and Spanish. He enjoys working with dogs, cats, marine mammals, and specializes in tortoises. After 15 years of owning his own practice, he sold it to the Vet Centers of America, to pursue his dream of working on marine mammals. He did an internship in marine mammal medicine, but missed having his own practice. He spent months finding a town where his expertise would be needed. Port St. Lucie fit the picture and he eventually purchased an old house that he transformed into a beautifully decorated state-of-the-art animal hospital. Dr. Fox enjoys giving back to the community as often as possible. He coaches soccer in his spare time and partners with the Humane Society Of St. Lucie on public awareness on several subjects. Dr. Fox also works closely with St. Lucie County Animal Control on rehabilitation of injured pets and wildlife.

In May of last year Dr. Fox was presented with the AWARD OF GRATITUDE from the Humane Society of St. Lucie County.


Dr. Fox has been rehabilitating and fostering tortoises for over ten years. These are a few of the residents in his own back yard. The majority of these big guys are Red Foot and Cherry Headed Red Foot Tortoises.

Red-foot tortoises are among the most popular and appropriate tortoises for beginning tortoise keepers.  Stunningly attractive, their black shell contrasts with their yellow scute areola, bright red legs and yellow or red markings on their head.  Being from multiple habitats, they are among the hardiest of species. As long as their requirements are met,  Red-foots can be expected to give literally a lifetime of companionship.  While they do get fairly large, one over 16 inches (40 cm) would be considered exceptional with most attaining a length of 14 inches (35 cm) or so. There is also a smaller "dwarf" variant called a Cherry-head that only attains a length of 10 - 12 inches (25 - 30 cm) as an adult.  


Upon initial sighting, a Red-foot tortoise, Geochelone carbonaria, looks very similar to the closely related Yellow-foot tortoise, G. denticulata, with the primary distinction being the presence of yellow scales on the forelegs of the Yellow-foot and red scales on the forelegs of the Red-foot  (thus the common names for each).  However, of all of the differences between these two species, this is actually the most variable.  While Red-foots may be more intensely colored, this is not a universal distinction; there are Yellow-foots that are very brightly patterned and comparatively drab Red-foots.  While there are numerous morphometric differences between these two species, by far the easiest method of telling Red-foots and Yellow-foots apart is the differences in the scalation of their heads. Yellow-foots have elongated prefrontal scales and a fragmented frontal scale.  Red-foots have shortened prefrontals and an intact frontal scale. The prefrontal and frontal scales are the scales at the tip of the nose.  In addition to this obvious difference, female Red-foot tortoises are more elongated, looking much like a loaf of bread while older male Red-foots tend to develop an hourglass shape.   Adult Yellow-foots of both sexes  tend to be wider/ rounder  and somewhat flatter in their overall shape.