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Sexing by number of tail scales

Discussion in 'Aldabra tortoises' started by Eredant, Aug 28, 2019.

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  1. Eredant

    Eredant New Member

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    Whilst reading some husbandry literature (Raising giant tortoises; https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/10240/2/ZAWAM_6V.pdf quite interesting) I found a reference to this paper (Captive breeding of Dipsochelys giant tortoises; https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1709/ad97e7b851b9795409fc9a8d56d47e3633c5.pdf) in which they discuss the practice of counting the number of tail scales, to determine the sex at young age. Presumably the number of scales doesn't change as they grow and males have a larger number of them (12-14) than females (8-11).

    Does anyone have any experience with this practice/method? @ALDABRAMAN perhaps?
    Could anybody explain which scale’s they’re actually talking about? It isn’t exactly clear to me which scales they’re counting.

    Interestingly I also came across this video from FloridaIguana in which he’s trying to work out a formula based on proportional tail size compared to the tortoise’s length.

    Note: It doesn’t actually matter all that much what their sex is to me, but I'm curious and it would be nice to not have to wait 15 years .
    EllieMay likes this.
  2. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    time to start counting scales everyone! Seems an easily tested theory. I;ve got three, ages 4,4, and 7. I don't know their sex yet, but I suspect my oldest is female.
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  3. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    and thanks for sharing the links - very interesting and must reads for us Aldabra owners. btw, the paper you linked that was supposed to reference scale counting did not mention scale counting that I could find, but the first link did talk about it. Great post!
  4. Eredant

    Eredant New Member

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    The 2nd link is the reference that they give for this scale counting in the 1st link. You're right that the 2nd link doesn't give more information, just a reference to a personal communication. Not exactly the type of scientific data that you'd expect to get from a reference. To be honest I don't even know which scales to count. I figure that with a good picture of the tail one would be able to count these scales even at very young age, if you know what to look for.

  5. Eredant

    Eredant New Member

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    Giving this a bump, would be really informative if someone with adult Aldabras would check this theory with their animals!
  6. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Is this only for Aldabras? Would love to find a sexing way for hatchlings of all species.
    @ALDABRAMAN start counting lol
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Forum Title Date
Aldabra tortoises sexing Aldabras? Jan 28, 2008

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