Water and land turtles have long been favorites of many families. Most often, at the time of choosing a nickname, reptile lovers begin to wonder who lives with them: a boy or a girl? There are several physiological signs by which a female can be distinguished from a male.
How to determine the sex of a turtle
It is possible to reliably determine the sex and age of a turtle at home only after the little turtles reach puberty. Under natural habitat conditions, puberty occurs at the age of 6-8 years. Domestic turtles develop much faster, so you can already distinguish indirect sexual characteristics in 2-5-year-old reptiles with a shell length of 9-11 cm. Do not trust unscrupulous sellers who find gender differences in very young babies.
Finding out the exact age of the reptile is quite problematic. Land tortoises are not artificially bred, they are caught from their natural habitat and brought to Russia. Red-eared turtles are bred in Europe, but the rate of their growth depends entirely on the conditions of detention. It is almost impossible to accurately determine the age of a turtle from the length of the shell, the number of annual rings, and the change in color of the scutes.
Reptiles do not have external sexual characteristics, the sex of the turtle is determined by the shape of the shell, claws, abdomen, tail, cloaca. In the conditions of a veterinary clinic, you can find out the sex of a turtle using various diagnostic methods: ultrasound, x-rays, laboratory tests of blood tests for hormones. But you should not put unnecessary stress on an exotic pet, it is not difficult to determine the sex of a turtle by carefully studying the external differences and behavioral patterns of individuals of different sexes.
The main signs of sex determination in turtles
To find out the sex of a pet, it is recommended to step by step compare the anatomical differences in different individuals of the same age and species. In order to understand what sex the turtle lives in a terrarium or aquarium, it is advisable to pay attention to the following secondary sexual characteristics.
It is possible to distinguish a boy’s turtle from a girl’s shell in the form of a shell with a length of at least 10 cm; before reaching sexual maturity, all turtles look like females. The female must bear the eggs of future offspring, respectively, her shell is larger and more voluminous than that of a male of the same age. Male individuals are distinguished by a narrow and elongated shape of the protective “armor”.
The plastron is the underside of the shell, which many reptile owners refer to as the “belly”. In order to study in detail the differences in the belly of reptiles, it is necessary to put two individuals on their backs. Turtles really do not like to be in a similar position and try to bite the offender, therefore, with this method of determining the sex, it is necessary to observe the precautions as much as possible. You can understand whether a turtle lives at home, male or female, by the shape of the plastron. Nature has created in reptiles the sexual differences necessary for procreation. The plastron in girls has a flat surface, while in boys it is concave, due to which the male is held on the body of the female during mating.
It is also worth paying attention to the shape of the back of the abdomen of a pet. Females are distinguished by a rounded shape of the plastron, males have a characteristic triangular notch in the lower part, which is necessary to protect the tail during mating. This notch is most pronounced in marsh turtles.
To distinguish the sex of domestic turtles can be directly in the size of the shell. Babies are almost the same height and body length at a tender young age, but after the onset of puberty, females begin to develop much more intensively. It is quite easy to determine the female when comparing mature turtles of different sexes; the male against the background of the female looks much more compact and smaller.
This method is not suitable for sex determination in wild reptiles, male Galapagos, South African beak-breasted, desert, box, bog and yellow mud turtles are much larger than females of their species.
It is not difficult to determine the sex of a turtle by its tail if it is possible to simultaneously compare several individuals of reptiles. The turtles have a penis in the tail, so boys differ from girls in a longer tail with a wide base. In the tail of the females there are oviducts, the females have an elegant short and thick tail with a thinner base. Sometimes during bathing, bowel movements, or manipulation of the back of the body, males release their beautiful penis, similar to a rose flower, from their tail. If you touch it with your hand, the organ instantly collapses and hides back. If this sign is found, the owner will no longer have doubts about the gender of his pet.
You can also check the sex of the turtle by the shape of the cloaca – the expanded end part of the hindgut, which is found in all reptiles, amphibians, birds and some species of fish and mammals. Nature has rewarded female turtles with a pretty cloaca shape in the form of an asterisk, located near the base of a short tail. Males differ both in the shape of the final part of the intestine, resembling a longitudinal line, and in its location, the cloaca in males is located in the lower third of the long tail.
Determination of the sex of red-eared turtles is also made by the shape of the claws of the forelimbs. Male freshwater turtles have long, powerful claws to hold the males on the female’s shell during mating. This feature is characteristic of most male freshwater and marine reptiles. But as an exception, nature has awarded the females of huge African leopard tortoises with long claws on their hind legs, which female sexually mature individuals use during egg laying.
Red-eared boys have a neater and more pointed nose than girls of the same species. In addition, sex can be determined by the tone of the red stripe behind the eyes of freshwater reptiles. Upon reaching puberty in males, the longitudinal stripe acquires a bright scarlet characteristic color compared to a paler shade in females of this species.
Nature awarded land turtles with a sexual difference – the presence of large skin growths on the thighs of the hind limbs. Hip spurs are found only in male tortoises.
Eye color is not an accurate indication of the sexual difference of reptiles. Female marsh turtles have yellow eyes, boys have brown eyes, female Caroline box turtles have brown eyes, and males have red eyes. This feature can be used in the aggregate comparison of other anatomical differences of heterosexual individuals.
According to the behavior of exotic pets, especially during puberty, boys and girls are distinguished in all types of reptiles. Females most often have a calm shy disposition, males are characterized by obsession, flirting and courting the girl they like. If several males have the same object of interest, they can start bloody battles, fraught with serious injuries.
The systematization of the data obtained by comparing all sexual characteristics makes it possible to almost unmistakably distinguish a girl turtle from a boy in adulthood. Both female and male domestic reptiles live and delight their own for a long time.
How to distinguish a turtle boy from a girl, the characteristics of males and females
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