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RE: Sexing Sulcata Tortoise

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Posted by: Ivory Tortoise at Wed Aug 11 14:59:20 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Ivory Tortoise ]  
   

The gular scutes and curvature of the plastron of African spurred tortoises are very poor indicators of sex unless the tortoises are big. Gular scutes are poor indicators of sex in young tortoises. Even in large tortoises it is not always accurate. I have a 30-inch male (almost 4-feet over the shell) with gular scutes much smaller than some of my 24-inch females. In my herd ofGenerally males have the largest gular scutes and I do have some big males with huge gular scutes but I have some big females with some pretty impressive gular scutes also (genetics can have as much to do with gular scute size as sex).

The best indicator of sex is tail size. If the tortoise has a large tail, which is held to the side it is likely a male. If it has a short stubby tail hanging straight down it is likely a female. The angle of separation of the anal scutes can also be helpful on identifying the sex. The male will have the widest angle of separation in order to maneuver their tail for breeding. Females have shorter anal scutes directed more to the rear with a curved opening between the scutes.

You will begin to see some sexual dimorphism at about a year ( usually very little) and it will become more pronounced as the tortoise grows. They usually need to be about 12-inches before you can be confident and I have seen 16-inch tortoises misidentified.

The biggest problem with sexing African spurred tortoises is that most of those in captivity are males and people will look through a group of males and pick out the one that is the most different and incorrectly assume it is a female. You need to have a known female to compare to unless you have a lot of experience with sexing African spurred tortoises.


   

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