Sexing Cherryheads- a pictorial guide

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Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Jul 23, 2008
We were taking some pics of my adults today and someone suggested it would be helpful for everyone to see. It is interesting to see that not all of the females' anal scutes have the well known, "sure sign of a girl", the rounded anal scutes. Some of the cherry females' anal scutes are noticeably different and more masculine. It is also interesting that some of the females also develop a concave plastron. No where near as pronounced as the males, but it is still concave and not totally flat. Mind you, these are of my adults where the sex of each tort is known. These differences in adults illustrate why it is so hard to accurately sex the sub adults and impossible with the hatchlings. Here are the pics. Enjoy!


Some are the easily identified rounded scutes:

Some are more flattened like the male anal scutes tend to be:

Here are the photos of the concave female plastrons:

I have one girl that has the rounded anal scutes, longer tail and concave plastron:

The males have thickened anal scutes that are flatter than the girls coupled with the deep concavity of the plastron. Here are a few shots of some of our males for comparison:


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Feb 15, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
According to a study (Guix. "Masculinization of captive females of Chelonoidis carbonaria"), some female Brazilian Red-foots- what we often call Cherry-heads- can develop male-like characteristics, at least those in captivity sometimes do. Longer tails, concave plastrons, and anal scute gaps that are sometimes too small to pass a developed egg. Sounds like a perfect match to one of your girls!

Overall, this sounds like an interesting study to figure out if there is another set of solid characteristics to go by, and more fuel for the debate about this being a different species!


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Feb 21, 2010
I read alot about sexing “My Redfoot/Cherryhead tortoise” So I thought about a pictorial description for easy understanding. Redfoot tortoises can be sexed by many different ways , and these can occur or “ stand out “ at different ages and maturity level. Like most species, the tail length is a quick easy way to determine the sex but not untill adult hood....there are other key factors to notice. Let’s start with adults. Male Redfoot’s tails will be long and thick, and will curve around against the back leg…..While the Female ’s tail will be short and fat and not extended to the side. Redfoot and Cherryhead adult males, will have a strong concave stomachs, where females will be flat on bottom, although this can be misleading as some females will have a slight concave to them ( see below). Redfoot adult males will also have a “peanut or hourglass” shape to them when viewed from above. With Cherryhead’s however this method and development is no where near as prominent in detail and both females and males look pretty much the same from above. Another key factor and clue is to look at the anal notch. This can be tricky as both males and females will show these signs but usually Females will have a curved and “U” shaped anal notch while Males will have wide and more “V” shaped notch. Also, Males will have a much thicker notch plate at this location.
Now with juveniles 3-6” the odds of correctly sexing go down but if you’ve viewed or own several for comparison ….this too can be done pretty accurately . For myself, I usually look at the tail length. Females will have a very short span between the base of the tail and actual tail tip…..while males will have a slender and more continuous shape to them. Once again experience plays a major role and hatching your own eggs, knowing the temps and comparing notes and finally seeing them into adulthood…..There are definite tell~ tell signs if your little one is a boy or a girl.

Lets start with the Redfoots………
Here is an Adult Male :

Adult Female :

Jr Female :

Baby 1 year old Female:

Now Some CherryHeads………

Adult Male:

Adult Female:

Jr. Cherry Female :

Jr. Cherry Male:

Baby Cherry Female:

Hope this helps some folks New to the Redfoot World! ;)
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