I think we can agree that we don’t even have to think when it comes to telling the sex, male or female, of a human. (Well, most of the time…)
But it is a completely different story when you are trying to whether your Russian tortoise is a boy or girl.
It can be down right confusing and annoying when you are trying to figure it out! And sometimes you get it wrong and don’t find out the correct sex for months or even years.
In order to successfully identify a male and a female tortoise, you need to have a little knowledge on the topic. As if that’s not hard enough, there are over 100 known species of tortoises in the world with each having a different way to identify their sexes…
…but don’t worry, today we will just be covering the Russian and by the end you’ll be a pro and able to tell if yours is a boy or girl.
We will identify the various ways you can identify the sex of a Russian tortoise.
Unlike in the other species of tortoise where the shell of the male and female appear different, in the Russian tortoise both the female and male tortoise have the same shell shape and color of the shell. It’s thus practically impossible to tell the difference between the two by observing their shells.
So, how can one tell the difference between a rusian female and male tortoise? By their tails. This is the common way used to determine the sex in these species of tortoise. How do the tails differ? It is important to note that during their tender age the two sexes appear the same, but the difference sets in when they reach maturity and are above 5 inches long.
|Tail||Have a long, thin and pointed tail with its cloaca shaped like a tiny slit close to the tip of the tail. This helps to accommodate the length of the penis since this reproductive organ needs to be brought close to the female’s reproductive organ during mating for fertilization to occur. Also, the male tends to walk with his the tail to one side.||Have a short, fat, triangular shaped tail with its cloaca taking the shape of an asterisk and is close to the body. This is necessary for the easier laying of eggs.
NOTE: The cloaca’s asterisk shape appear stretched once the females lay eggs.
You can also distinguish a male tortoise from a female through a little craw at the end of the tail. All male tortoises tend to have a small craw at the end of their tail while most females do not have. This method is not accurate, though since there are reported cases of some female tortoise having the craw too
Another common feature of identifying the sex of a russian tortoise is by their size.
|Size||Against all odds, a russian mature male tortoise is relatively smaller in size compared to the female counterpart. The males are approximately 5 inches long and hardly get above 6 inches.||Are relatively large to create room so as to accommodate more eggs. A mature female is approximately 8-10 inches with reported cases of some being as long as 12 inches.|
This must have been a happy transition from “how do I tell if my Russian tortoise is a male or a female” to “My Russian tortoise is a male/female.”