Sexing Desert Tortoises (photo demonstration) discussion thread

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Yvonne G

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The first two pictures are of a 6 year old CB desert tortoise, a rescue. As you can see, he looks female, however, he is still too young to determine the sex. He is appx. 6" long.

deserttortoise-1.jpg


deserttortoise-2.jpg


This next picture shows a wild caught male and female with the male on the left. Notice that the male's overall shape is longer and slightly triangular. While the female is more round.

deserttortoise-3.jpg


I couldn't get this old body down far enough on the ground to show you how the female's side view is more symetrical and how the male's rear portion drops off, but maybe you can get the idea.

deserttortoise-4.jpg


In young adults it pretty hard to tell male/female from the tail. As you can see here, while the male tail (on the left) is slightly longer and slightly fatter, while the female tail is pretty small, they are very similar and without the other sex to compare to, it would be diff. Also, in this picture you can see that the male's gular (the part of the plastron that goes up under the chin) is bigger and longer than the female's.

deserttortoise-5.jpg


I tried to get a shot of the two glands under the male's chin, but my arm isn't long enough for a clear picture. You can see one of the glands just under the bit of food in his mouth, but the other is hidden by the gular. In real life, they look like a couple large pimples.

deserttortoise-6.jpg



Yvonne
 

Candy

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RE: male/female differences

Yvonne, I love your pictures of your tortoises. I love the information you gave and I can see what you were trying to show. :)
 

lgdpt

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RE: male/female differences

Very cool! Thanks for the pics!
 

Crazy1

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RE: male/female differences

Yvonne, I think this information with the pics you provided is extreamly valuble and have stickied it to the DT forum. Hope no one objects. Great job.
 

lgdpt

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RE: male/female differences

Is that one Tort missing his back foot? What happened?:(
 

Yvonne G

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RE: male/female differences

lgdpt said:
Is that one Tort missing his back foot? What happened?:(

I wondered if anyone would notice that. Yes, his foot is gone. He came to me that way, so I can only imagine his story, and here's what I put together: He has a hole drilled just above that back leg. Its obvious to me that whatever they had the tortoise tethered with...wire, string, rope...wrapped around the foot and eventually killed it, causing it to drop off. They do this with very young bulls...banding a rubber band around the testicles. They die and drop off. It takes two weeks for testicles to drop off, so imagine this poor tortoise for two weeks or more with something wrapped around his foot. I know that eventually the pain would go away to numbness, but for two weeks these people didn't see that the tortoise was in trouble? This tortoise is very special to me and is treated like a king.

Yvonne
 

lgdpt

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RE: male/female differences

Oh good. He looks like a king.

I bet he doesnt even notice its gone anymore.
 

Stazz

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RE: male/female differences

Aw Yvonne thats just too terrible !! That tort sure is lucky to have found you :D I'm sure he breathed a sigh of relief when he met you hehe. He is SO cute though!
 

FunnyGirl

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RE: male/female differences

That was really interesting about the glands. ET has these and I thought they were little "dimples"! Puppies and baby pigs are born with a little "dimple" under their chins -they all have it. I have asked genetisits and vets why it is there and no one has ever been able to give me an answer. I just assume that tortoises had two of these. (minus the hair growing out!) I have never seen a female DT and since ET is the only one I have, I never realized it was a sex charectoristic. What are they for?

The process of of castration using rubber bands is called elastration. It is an absolutely horrible way to castrate any animal. Not that castration on livestock isn't a yukky thing anyway, but elastration is especially yukky! I cannot imagine having a pet and NOT noticing something as damaging as a wire wrapped around it's leg.

Thanks for this information!!
 

Yvonne G

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RE: male/female differences

I'm not real sure, but I think that the glands under the male desert tortoise's chin secrete a substance during or before mating.

Yvonne
 

waynee

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RE: male/female differences

Yvonne
Great pictures and info. I was surprised at the size of your 6 yr old, 6" long.
My (8) yearlings range in size from 5-3/4" to 6-1/2". Are they growing to fast?
My hatchlings are 2-1/2" to 1-3/4"( the Twins). Less than 1 week difference in age but visually a big difference in size. The twins (Ping & Pong) are doing great. No after effects from their separation surgery.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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RE: male/female differences

It's always an education from Yvonne. Thanks so much for taking the time to post those pictures and explain what is going on with them...
 

Yvonne G

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RE: male/female differences

waynee said:
Yvonne
Great pictures and info. I was surprised at the size of your 6 yr old, 6" long.
My (8) yearlings range in size from 5-3/4" to 6-1/2". Are they growing to fast?

I took in this tortoise and its sibling two summers ago and adopted out the sibling right away. However, this guy is just plain thin. I've kept him, trying to put some weight on him, but to no avail. He's very thin with absolutely NO fat on him at all. Crazy1 suggested I give him some Bene-bac, and I'm going to try it, however, I haven't had a chance yet to buy some.
 

Stephanie Logan

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RE: male/female differences

If Danny gets on this thread, I'd like him to tell me if it is just my untrained eye, or if that first CB Desert tortoise looks just like a Chaco.:p

Thank the tortoise gods that you are there to take in these poor abused and neglected "pets" and nurse them back to health and happiness!:)
 
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johncocyan09

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RE: male/female differences

The pics are really clear and the people can see what you are trying to say even in the last pic. Keep it up..
 
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