Help sexing young Hermann

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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Nztortoiselover
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Joined: 08 Dec 2020, 09:01

Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nztortoiselover » 08 Dec 2020, 09:07

Hi there

I’d really appreciate some expert advice please. This is a 4 year old Hermann - male or female?

Thanks in advance!
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Nina
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nina » 08 Dec 2020, 10:06

Hi and thanks for contacting us. 4 years is on the borderline of being able to accurately tell the sex, but the way the tail is carried to the side and the shape of the anal scute make me think it could be male. However females also often carry tails to the side and scute shapes can differ. Is it possible to have a photo of the underside of the tail, clearly showing the cloaca (the opening through which they wee and poo)? In female tortoises is is sort of the shape of an asterisk, midway down the tail, and in males it is more like a slit, and more towards the end of the tail.

Nina

Nztortoiselover
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nztortoiselover » 08 Dec 2020, 18:59

Thanks for your quick reply..... yes I’m really in two minds and agree it is right on the borderline to sex. I was hoping the sharper v may indicate a female. I do have a few girls who carry their tails to the side. This is one I am considering buying to add a new bloodline to my breeding pool. I guess time will tell!

Nztortoiselover
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nztortoiselover » 08 Dec 2020, 19:02

Oh and I forgot to mention that it was apparently incubated at 35 degrees, which is substantially warmer than the temperature I use to produce a 30:70 mix of males and females.

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Nina
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nina » 08 Dec 2020, 20:37

Good point. Looking at it again I do think that is a 'V', rather than a 'U' and the end points of that anal scute, near the marginals, are close enough that I think you could be right in thinking it's female. Any chance of a shot of the cloaca?

Would be interested to hear more about your breeding pool -- how many do you have? And are you from New Zealand (the 'nz' in your username -- Nztortoiselover :D ).

Nina

Nztortoiselover
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nztortoiselover » 09 Dec 2020, 07:24

Thanks Nina - I’m really unsure myself but I have decided to go ahead and buy this little one so I’ll be able to add more CB photos after the weekend when I collect him/her.

You are right in thinking I’m in New Zealand. Tortoises are pretty hard to come by here (and expensive!) so I feel very lucky to have a little group of Hermann’s- 3 breeding females (sisters) and 2 unrelated males. I’ve been breeding for the past 12 years.

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Nina
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nina » 09 Dec 2020, 09:48

Good luck wth that, and I hope it turns out to be a female. That is great that you are breeding Hermann's tortoises in New Zealand -- and I'm sure your climate is much better than ours for them to live in. Do you know the Hermann's website (run by Chris Leone in the USA) -- Hermanni Haven? It's an excellent site and has loads of information on sub-species, etc. https://www.hermannihaven.com/

Lol, I'm just about to post a Christmas card to a good friend in New Zealand, and I wish you and your family -- and your extended famly of tortoises -- a very happy Christmas and a healthy and safe New Year.

Nina

CritterMama
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by CritterMama » 28 Mar 2021, 19:48

Nina wrote:
> clearly showing the cloaca (the opening through which they wee and poo)? In female tortoises is is sort of the shape of an asterisk, midway down the
> tail, and in males it is more like a slit, and more towards the end of the tail.
>
> Nina

I had never heard of this way to identify male or female! How old do they have to be before this difference becomes apparent?

I have been doing a lot of research over the past couple of months :geek: . Decided, for a number of reasons, that I want to get a male Hermann's. I had hoped to get a juvenile or yearling, but I've been told you can't sex them until they're almost full grown (which I've also learned takes years!) Getting a male is primary; the age not so much. Sure would like to get a young 'un though provided I could be sure of its gender. Thinking this test might help me on that?
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

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Nina
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nina » 28 Mar 2021, 22:22

Hi CritterMama and welcome to The Tortoise Table,

it is really difficult to sex young tortoises. They don't have to be fully grown, but you usually can't sex them accurately until they are 5 or 6 (although there are exceptions). The shape of the cloaca is one of the main ways to determine sex, along with the size of the tail (it is much longer in males), and sometimes the shape of the anal scute (in males it can often be the shape of an upside-down 'U' and in females and upside-down 'V' -- but often this isn't reliable). In some species the males have a slightly concave plastron, but this isn't reliable and the plastron of males in many species can be absolutely flat, and in some species the plastron of females is slightly concave. It's complicated by the fact that in some species --- particularly Horsfields -- they look like females for the first four or five years and then suddenly their tails grow and they become noticeable as males.

Congratulations on doing your research before you get your tortoise! So many don't and then they run into big problems. Hermann's are a great species and we can send you a care sheet if you are interested. In the meantime, this is a fabulous site for Hermann's and included a care sheet, so have a good look through here and see what you think: https://www.hermannihaven.com/general Chris Leone, who runs the site, lives in New Jersey and is a great expert on Hermanns. If you see a young Hermann's and want to sex it, you could always send a photo to him and if anyone could sex it then he's your man.

Just out of curiosity -- is there a reason why you prefer a male tortoise (just wondered). :D

Nina

CritterMama
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Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by CritterMama » 30 Mar 2021, 18:45

>>Just out of curiosity -- is there a reason why you prefer a male tortoise (just wondered). :D >>

I just don't want to have to deal with the eggs! That probably sounds selfish, but there you have it! Sounds like I will be looking at an adult Hermann's, which is OK. Someone suggested adopting one who needs a new home for whatever reason. As long as he's healthy and will be happy living in our menagerie, I guess that's all that really matters!

Thank you for your warm welcome to the Tortoise Table. I am familiar with Chris from New Jersey. His site is so good!
Last edited by CritterMama on 31 Mar 2021, 18:11, edited 1 time in total.
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

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Nina
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Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by Nina » 31 Mar 2021, 17:29

Ahh, that makes sense. I am just getting ready for two female Horsfields to lay eggs. One has been laying every year, about two weeks after emerging for hibernation, for the last six or seven years, and I think the other one is going to lay for the first time this year. It's much more stressful for me than it is for them! You have to get the nest box just right, and often the nest doesn't turn out as well as she would like and so she abandons it after three hours of exhausting digging, etc. It's too cold at the moment for her to dig outside and anyway my garden is heavy clay and she couldn't dig in it if she wanted, so I have to construct a nest box indoors. If I had my choice I would prefer that she didn't lay eggs, so I know where you're coming from!

Speaking of adopting a tortoise, you could try this group if they are close enough to you: https://jerseyshoretortrescue.com/
And this is a really excellent group, headed by Julie McGuire: https://www.turtlerescues.com/
Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

Nina

CritterMama
Posts: 13
Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: Help sexing young Hermann

Post by CritterMama » 31 Mar 2021, 18:17

Nina wrote:
>
> Speaking of adopting a tortoise, you could try this group if they are close enough to you: https://jerseyshoretortrescue.com/
> And this is a really excellent group, headed by Julie McGuire: https://www.turtlerescues.com/
> Good luck, and let us know how you get on!
>
> Nina

Thank you for the references. We're in the same country and they're both on the right coast, so there's that! Might could be there's a Road Trip in my future! :lol:
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

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