Chelonoidis chathamensis is a species of chelonian endemic to San Cristóbal Island that is currently classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Parent et al. 2008. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 363:3347–3361; http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/9019/0; 28 March 2018). As part of a population health assessment authorized by the Galápagos National Park (GNP), captive tortoises at the Galapageura de Cerro Colorado, a breeding facility and sanctuary located on the northeast side of San Cristóbal Island, were captured in March 2018. Veterinary health examinations were performed on each animal in accordance with the ethics and animal handling protocols of Galápagos Science Center (GSC) and Galapagos National Park. Since cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic systems of
reptiles are affected by temperature, accurate measurements are of great importance in both captivity and research (Long 2016. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Exot. Anim. Pract. 19:567–590). Obtaining
cloacal temperatures in C. chathamensis requires the animal to be placed in dorsal recumbency. This method places stress on the animal as well as the examiner. Accurate assessment of body temperature is an important part of general husbandry practices
for captive reptiles and veterinary health examinations. Therefore, a less invasive and reliable method for monitoring body temperature is desirable. Many zoological facilities and exotic pet owners have begun using infrared temperature guns to assess ambient temperatures of reptile enclosures, but there are currently no studies assessing the efficacy of these devices for measuring the body temperatures of reptiles. By comparing the infrared body temperature measurements of tortoises against simultaneously collected cloacal temperatures obtained using a thermocouple thermometer, we sought to assess the efficacy of this noninvasive method for obtaining body temperatures.