How do I know if my tortoise is male or female?

How do I know if my tortoise is male or female?

One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘how do I know if my tortoise is male or female?’. You would be surprised how many owners don’t know. It is important for you to understand their gender as this will determine how to look after them during mating or breeding season.

Here are three DIY methods!

The tail

This will give you a strong indication but should not be taken on its own. If your tortoise has a short or stubby kind of tail then she is probably a girl, we have found plenty of girls with boys’ names. Male tortoises have long tails. If in doubt do a little research and compare pictures that are freely available on the web.

Stomach shape

If you have a young tortoise of under approximately 4 years old, it is difficult to distinguish between a male or female. Inspect your tortoises’ stomach or bottom shell, if it is curved like a bowl then it is a male. Females have much flatter stomachs but do not expect them to be completely flat. If the tail and the stomach match in terms of gender determination, then you don’t need to look at the shell notch.

Shell notch

Look at the underside of your tortoise below the tail, females generally have U shaped notches and males have V-shaped ones. Don’t just use this method of gender determination as it’s not always easy to define the shape and the shapes do vary from species to species.

If you have carried out all three methods and you cannot work out their gender, then review social media sites and obviously the next time they are in for routine care ask the vet, if you want all vet fees covered you can take a look at our list of tortoise insurance policies which are up to £5,000.

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