Questioning the sex of my 'female' Russian.

Greta16

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I bought a Russian tort the lived with a partner in a tiny aquarium and no lights for over a year...and all the potential problems that come along with that. They were bought at Petsmart. I was told she 'breeded' with her 'partner' and she may be gravid. That being said, is Jenny a female and old/big enough to be sexually mature. She weighs in at 268g, shell is 4in long front to back, and shell is 3 1/4in side to side. Here are some pics, for reference I have very small hands.

For anyone that read my previous threads, Jenny's fecal sample was tested and came back clean. They were unable to see her this week so we at least got that taken care of. She's still not eating, but does seem super scared when I'm picking her up to take her to the bath. I don't believe she was handled at all. 20190509_161050.jpeg 20190509_160953.jpeg 20190509_160732.jpeg
 

dmmj

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Small tail usually equals female, but it is pretty small. Get a shot of the cloaca
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Here's a good comparison shot I took using a couple of my Russians. Males have a longer tail that they tuck to the side, and their anus is a slit. Females have a short, stubby tail, and their anus is puckered. PicsArt_02-13-03.59.35.jpeg
 

Greta16

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We need a plastron shot. Like this:
View attachment 272298
She put her little tail right to the side so this was the best I could get...
Anddd, she( or he) tried to eat. I picked some dandelion flowers thinking the bright colors would be enticing. She went right for one and pulled her head in while it was in her mouth but it was like she couldn't figure out her to use her legs to hold it down and rip. The trying to eat has go to be a good sign though, right? 20190516_151038.jpeg 20190516_151036.jpeg
 

Greta16

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So I don't need to worry about eggs! Did you read the bit about taking a dandelion flower into her mouth, pulling her head in and not really knowing what to do with her front legs? What could that be about? She was being fed a giant romaine leaf everyday.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Too small to be sexually mature?
Russians are usually sexually mature starting at 10 years of age. Females are 6" in size before they can be fertilized and lay eggs. Your female is still too young and small. A male may have mounted her but with her not being matured yet there is very little chance she was fertilized by the mating. Males usually reach maturity at 5" to successfully fertilize during mating, but can easily show all the signs at a smaller size before their system is fully ready to get the job done.
 

Greta16

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Russians are usually sexually mature starting at 10 years of age. Females are 6" in size before they can be fertilized and lay eggs. Your female is still too young and small. A male may have mounted her but with her not being matured yet there is very little chance she was fertilized by the mating. Males usually reach maturity at 5" to successfully fertilize during mating, but can easily show all the signs at a smaller size before their system is fully ready to get the job done.
Thanks for the info. [emoji4]
 

RosemaryDW

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If she’s been eating romaine for a year it may take her a while to get a taste for other foods. Plus romain doesn’t take a lot of effort, leg wise. She will have had some dandelion relatives in her native home so they should seem familiar; hopefully it doesn’t take her too long to adjust to it. You could always try her on a red flower, if you have a safe one. A bit more attractive to her than yellow.

She sure looks small in that picture. Room to grow. :)
 

Greta16

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If she’s been eating romaine for a year it may take her a while to get a taste for other foods. Plus romain doesn’t take a lot of effort, leg wise. She will have had some dandelion relatives in her native home so they should seem familiar; hopefully it doesn’t take her too long to adjust to it. You could always try her on a red flower, if you have a safe one. A bit more attractive to her than yellow.

She sure looks small in that picture. Room to grow. :)
I live in Maine and spring came late. No red flowers yet but there are purple and white violets popping up so I'm gonna try and find some of those tomorrow. I've also got some fresh Mazuri pellets coming sat so maybe that will help too. I know she's interested because as soon as she saw the yellow flowers she perked right up but didn't walk to them so I put one in front of her. I can tell she's super nervous. If I move her and put her in front of the food she scrambles to get away as fast as she can.
 

RosemaryDW

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Oh, then in that case I’d put the food down and leave the room/area. I don’t like to eat in front of human strangers and they aren’t a hundred times bigger than me! Your tortoise will eat when she gets some space and comfort, not before.

I know it’s hard to wait but she’ll hold out a lot longer than you will. :)
 

Greta16

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Oh, then in that case I’d put the food down and leave the room/area. I don’t like to eat in front of human strangers and they aren’t a hundred times bigger than me! Your tortoise will eat when she gets some space and comfort, not before.

I know it’s hard to wait but she’ll hold out a lot longer than you will. :)
That's what I was thinking. Maybe she just needs more time...
 

Greta16

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If she’s been eating romaine for a year it may take her a while to get a taste for other foods. Plus romain doesn’t take a lot of effort, leg wise. She will have had some dandelion relatives in her native home so they should seem familiar; hopefully it doesn’t take her too long to adjust to it. You could always try her on a red flower, if you have a safe one. A bit more attractive to her than yellow.

She sure looks small in that picture. Room to grow. :)
She finally ate!!I found dandelion greens at my grocery store today (now that they're finally growing outside)and I almost didn't buy them then I thought those kinda resemble romaine leaves. I have a flipped over terracotta saucer to eat in since she's too big to fit on it. Whenever I put her in front of it she runs the other way, she did the same today with the giant dandelion greens so I held one in front of her away from the saucer and she went to town. I thought she didn't want to eat, now I think she doesn't like her nails touching the saucer. Her previous owners threw the romaine on the substrate. I don't want her eating the substrate. What should I do?
 

RosemaryDW

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What you bought are not "true" dandelions but something closely related in the chicory family. That's why they are so big. Still an excellent food.

She'll probably get used to eating on the hard surface eventually. Some people use a piece of slate. Perhaps because it's bigger and more easily dug flat with the surface of the substrate? Mine is an outside tortoise so I'm no expert on this.

An occasional bite of dirt is going to pass through. If you have her on sand or something with pebbles, that might be an issue but I'm betting you are using coco coir or something similar?
 

Greta16

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What you bought are not "true" dandelions but something closely related in the chicory family. That's why they are so big. Still an excellent food.

She'll probably get used to eating on the hard surface eventually. Some people use a piece of slate. Perhaps because it's bigger and more easily dug flat with the surface of the substrate? Mine is an outside tortoise so I'm no expert on this.

An occasional bite of dirt is going to pass through. If you have her on sand or something with pebbles, that might be an issue but I'm betting you are using coco coir or something similar?
I'm using topsoil with coco coir mixed and and I stupidly mixed in spagnum moss which Tom reminded me isn't a good idea so I'm picking it out everyday rather than change out the whole thing.
 

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