How to determine the correct age and sex of a turtle?

Turtles are unusual animals. Some of them live for 100 years or more. But how to determine the age of the turtle? It can not be easy. The definition of sex is also difficult, because most of the body of this animal is hidden in its shell. And yet, there are some signs.

Determine the gender

So how do you figure out the floor of a turtle? Sometimes it can be difficult. In some species, sexual maturity occurs only at a certain age (at 5–8 years old), and until this age is reached, the determination of sex will be almost impossible. In addition, the shell of young turtles is constantly growing and changing, so that only with certain sizes it will be possible to see the distinctive features.

Cute creature

There are some differences between females and males. And although for different types of turtles distinctive signs can be different, but all certain parts of the body and features will help reveal all the secrets.


The females of most species of turtles are larger than the males.This is due to the fact that the female must lay eggs and then protect the offspring.


In the period of sexual activity, females are calmer, since everything depends on the males. The male must, firstly, win his right to insemination of the female, and secondly, to prove to this same female that he is suitable for the role of the father of her cubs. So, the male turtle in the society of others will behave more actively: push the males apart and try to turn them over, and also bite the female.


The carapace is the most accessible part of the turtle’s body, so consider it first. What should I look for?

  • Examine the plastron (abdominal shell shield). Practically at any land tortoise-female it will be equal and flat. But on the plastron of the male there is a certain deepening, which indicates its sex. It is necessary so that during mating the male does not fall and does not slide off the female.
  • In some species of turtles (such as the Chilean), the distance between the dorsal and the ventral shields of the shell is slightly different. So, in females it is more than in males. Probably, this is conceived by nature itself and due to the fact that the female must lay eggs (and in fact they should fit in her body and not be damaged).
  • Most often the shell of males is more elongated and elongated, and the shell of females is shorter and has a round shape.
  • Inspect the bottom of the plastron. In males, it has the shape of a V-shaped, and in females it is more rounded. This is due to the physiological and reproductive characteristics.


Most often, the males have more visible and bright eyes, which probably help them attract females. For example, in the males of the Carolina turtles, the iris has a bright red color, and in females it is slightly reddish. Males of Spengler mountain turtles have blue eyes, and females have brown eyes.



Carefully inspect the tail of the animal, it can tell a lot. Important points:

  • Red-eared and many other types of male turtles have a longer and thicker tail, since it must fit the sexual organ. But the female has a shorter tail.
  • Some males at the end of the tail have a sharp needle-like formation.
  • Consider the cloaca - the hole through which turtles are emptied. First, in males it is located closer to the end of the tail, and in females it is closer to its base. Secondly, the form will differ.So, the cesspool of the male looks like a kind of longitudinal strip, and the cesspool of the female resembles an asterisk.


Inspect and foot. Here are some possible differences:

  • The boy has longer and curved claws, they are needed in order to keep the female during mating. And the female's claws are short and straight.
  • The male has more developed femoral spurs than the girl.
  • The males of some breeds have some scales on the inner sides of the hind legs, which are also needed to hold the female.


Most often it is brighter and larger in males. This probably allows you to attract females.

Age determination

A pet

How to correctly determine the age of the turtle? There are different methods of determining, but none of them is 100% reliable and effective. The fact is that the appearance and characteristics of this animal may depend on a variety of factors, for example, on food, conditions of detention and some others. So, if a lot of foods containing calcium are present in the tortoise’s diet, the shell can be deformed and warped, making it difficult.

Several ways to determine age:

  • Dimensions. It is clear that the larger the turtle, the older it is.For example, a one year old female red-eared turtle will have a shell length of 6 centimeters, by two years it will grow to 9 centimeters, by three years - by 14, by 4 - by 16, by 5 - by 18 cm, and in six years its length will be of the order of 20 centimeters. Males are usually less by 2-3 centimeters. The size of the land tortoise is different. In the year it is the length of its shell will be 5 cm, in 2 years - 6 cm, in 3 years - 8 cm, in 4 - 9-10 centimeters, in 5 - 11-12, and in 6 - about 14.
  • Inspect the tortoise shell and count the rings on it. In the first year, 3-4 rings usually appear, and then 1-2 rings a year. But aquatic turtles have an almost smooth shell. In addition, the shell of an adult tortoise also begins to smooth over time, so it will be quite difficult to know the age.
  • Consider the veinlets between the shells of the shell. In young individuals, due to their intensive growth, they will be light, and in older adults they will be dark.

If you experience difficulties, consult a veterinarian for advice. And, in general, not so important, what are the age and sex of the pet. It is important that he be healthy, contented and happy.

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