Male or Female?

Post your pictures and any questions here of European tortoises e.g. Ibera Spur Thigh, Ibera Graeca, Marginated, Hermanns, Kleinmanni and we include the Horsfield tortoise. Also, do add pictures of Mediterranean tortoises you have seen in the wild.
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CandiceBall
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Joined: 13 Nov 2019, 21:22

Male or Female?

Post by CandiceBall » 13 Nov 2019, 21:28

I was just wondering if anyine would be able to help me sex my hermanns tortoise. I was told it was a girl but i am starting to wonder if she is actually a boy...i will attatch some photos :roll:
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Nina
Posts: 851
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Male or Female?

Post by Nina » 13 Nov 2019, 22:29

Hi Candice,

I'm not an expert at sexing tortoises, but she definitely looks female to me. Her tail is shorter than I would expect a male tortoise's tail to be, and her cloaca is in the shape of an asterisk (indicating female), rather than a slit (indicating a male). Also the anal scute is in a wide 'U' shape, rather than a tighter 'V' shape which can also indicate a female. Is there a reason why you think your tortoise might be male?

How old is she/he? You can't really accurately sex a tortoise until they are of a sufficient size -- usually about 5 - 7 years old, but from what I can see of your hand in the photo it looks like she is of sufficient size to sex.

Here are a couple of photos showing the difference in the size of tail in male and female Hermanns:
http://www.chelonia.org/sexing/sexing_T ... rmanni.htm
and this is a really excellent site devoted to Hermann's tortoises, in case you want to know the sub-species or anything else about them:
https://www.hermannihaven.com/general

Nina

CandiceBall
Posts: 2
Joined: 13 Nov 2019, 21:22

Re: Male or Female?

Post by CandiceBall » 13 Nov 2019, 22:43

Thank you for your reply and advise. She is 5 years old now. I have two other tortoises (also females) that she has always lived with but in the last maybe month or so she has started to chase them, bite at their back legs, steal and control all the food. Then in the last week she has also started to try to mate them. So I have now permanently seperated them. But from everything i have researched about her behaviour it all pointed towards her actually being a male. So just thought i would check 🙈

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Male or Female?

Post by Nina » 14 Nov 2019, 00:01

Yes, I can certainly see why you thought this tortoise might be male. I think it is much more likely to be a question of establishing dominance. I have two female Horsfields. I had one for five years and then a friend gave me another Horsfield that she had bred. My first tortoise (Doris) began chasing and biting and ramming the new tortoise (Dolly), who was a bit smaller.

I couldn't bear to watch it and so separated them, but my friend said not to, and they would sort it out in a couple of weeks. She said that unless the biting actually draws blood I should just leave them to it, and just make sure that Dolly had some hiding places to go to. So I did that, but it was horrible and I often had to leave the room because I couldn't watch. But sure enough, after two or three weeks they sorted it out and now they live completely happily together, and are the best of friends.

Also, re the mating behaviour, each year just after they emerge from hibernation, Dolly (the younger one) constantly mounts Doris (lol, not always from the right end). Dolly is definitely female, but she mounts Doris, even to the point of opening her mouth like males do, but she is not male. This goes on for several weeks, and I have heard that it is not uncommon for females to do this.

Nina

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