Dude looks like a lady (actually the opposite)

Sterant

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I thought this would be of interest to many, and a surprise to most, though I know some of you have seen this before.

We often tell people they don'y know the sex of a tortoise for sure until it lays eggs or flashes you. The attached picture shows what many would consider 100% proof that this Radiated tortoise is a male (especially those seeing this for the first time), however SHE laid 11 eggs this year. You will notice her tail is very short and the genitalia is much, much smaller than a male's. But, at quick glance it would be reasonable to think this was a male.

So, females can flash their genitalia just like males do. I have only seen this 3 or 4 times, and only with this particular female. I checked in with @zovick and in his many years of doing this has only seen this on a few occasions. So, it's rare, but happens. I have not witnessed this with any other species I have worked with over the years, or any other Radiated tortoise.

Dan
female gen.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Well, that sucks! This was a tried and true method of determining male from female. Now that's all out the window!
 

EllieMay

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So their Genitalia looks the same male or female??? HOLY CRAP THIS SUCKS
 

wellington

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Well we did know that females can show their genitals, Yvonne said that quite a few years ago. However, we never knew they looked so much like a males. 1000% sure s/he was the one laying the eggs? Positive, absolutely positive? Just trying desperately to make this not true. I mean come on. As it is we have too wait so long and now you had to show us this. You know, some things just shouldn't be shared. LOL. I kidding of course, just wish it wasn't so.
 

Toons1978

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Toddrickfl1 to answer your questions, generally speaking, yes.

Less generally, could this be "intersex" as described by Kutchling and company in 2011 when endoscoping Burmese Stars, Radiateds, & Aldabras, and Plowshares back in in 2000? While his research was looking at juveniles, his paper mentions adult sea turtles with fully formed male and female genitalia persisting. In the populations that he studied, 2.6% of Burmese stars(n=38), 2.8% of Aldabras(n=106), and 1 plowshare(n=?) were intersex though non of the radiateds(N=75) that he studied were intersex.

If it is not an intersex animal, what anatomical structure are we looking at exactly?
 

Sterant

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Well we did know that females can show their genitals, Yvonne said that quite a few years ago. However, we never knew they looked so much like a males. 1000% sure s/he was the one laying the eggs? Positive, absolutely positive? Just trying desperately to make this not true. I mean come on. As it is we have too wait so long and now you had to show us this. You know, some things just shouldn't be shared. LOL. I kidding of course, just wish it wasn't so.
I am absolutely sure without question that she laid eggs - two clutches this fall. Both indoors in a tub containing only her. I watched her both times dig the nest and deposit the eggs. For those of you that follow my posts - I wrote about her first clutch as she was the youngest radiated tortoise ever to produce eggs - as far as we know.
 

zovick

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Toddrickfl1 to answer your questions, generally speaking, yes.

Less generally, could this be "intersex" as described by Kutchling and company in 2011 when endoscoping Burmese Stars, Radiateds, & Aldabras, and Plowshares back in in 2000? While his research was looking at juveniles, his paper mentions adult sea turtles with fully formed male and female genitalia persisting. In the populations that he studied, 2.6% of Burmese stars(n=38), 2.8% of Aldabras(n=106), and 1 plowshare(n=?) were intersex though non of the radiateds(N=75) that he studied were intersex.

If it is not an intersex animal, what anatomical structure are we looking at exactly?


The veterinarians with whom I have discussed this phenomenon have described the visible organ as the female's clitoris.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Just saw this via Dan linking it to a Facebook question.

That "thing" does not even look like a tortoise penis, way to small and not the right shape. When everted tortoise penises always seems to be able to reach half way across the males' plastron.

I wouldn't have thought clitoris without explaination, but tortoise penises are relatively huge and the everted thing in the FB post is small.

Thanks much Dan, it's a great day for me to have a solid explaination of something like this.
 

Sterant

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Glad you're having a great day Will !

So for those of you that didn't see the Facebook post, it was an inexperienced radiata owner who had seen his tortoise flash an organ which looks exactly like the picture I attached above. He put it on Facebook asking for people to confirm that this was definitely a male - which many people did. Lots of "Definitely a Male" responses. I'm glad this thread is spreading - that guy may have sold that animal as a confirmed male, or chose to purchase animals based on a belief that he had a male in his group.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Glad you're having a great day Will !

So for those of you that didn't see the Facebook post, it was an inexperienced radiata owner who had seen his tortoise flash an organ which looks exactly like the picture I attached above. He put it on Facebook asking for people to confirm that this was definitely a male - which many people did. Lots of "Definitely a Male" responses. I'm glad this thread is spreading - that guy may have sold that animal as a confirmed male, or chose to purchase animals based on a belief that he had a male in his group.
I think that person had a thread here about that, it's the last page
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-new-rad.88399/page-10
 
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