How To Tell Between Male and Female Russian Tortoise Sexes?

If you’re trying to figure out the sex of your Russian Tortoise, it can be quite confusing and annoying. 

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.

Come with us as we 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.

Russian TortoiseMaleFemale
TailHave 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.


How To Tell Between Male & Female Russian Tortoise Sexes

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.

Russian TortoiseMaleFemale
SizeAgainst 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.”

It can be confusing at first and like a bunch of animal riddles but once you get the hang of it, with the help of this guide of course, it becomes very easy to tell the difference between the two sexes.

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