All about Indian & Burmese Star tortoises, Angulates, and Golden Greeks...

Angulate Tortoises

- male vs female -

angulate tortoise chersina angulata

Male Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata)

Sexing adult tortoises

Unlike in most small tortoise species, Angulate / Angulated / Bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata) males grow larger than females. Adult males have longer gular shields (throat shields), longer tails, and concave plastrons. In adult males, the body shape tends to be flatter and longer, and the posterior carapace can be wider and flare out.

As you see in these photos, the shape of the supracaudal scute and the bony tail opening can look very similar in both sexes. If you have a subadult or adult pair, you will see the differences in the shape and length of the tails. Also, female's cloacal opening looks roundish and male's looks more like a slit towards the tip of the tail.

Note: For shell details (e.g. gular shield, supracaudal scute), see the shell scutes diagrams.

Sexing young tortoises

If the juvenile tortoise looks like a boy, it's a boy. If the juvenile tortoise looks like a girl, it could be a girl or a boy. Simple, right? :O)

Baby Angulates are difficult or impossible to sex because the gender characteristics have not yet developed. The length of tail, size of gular, plastron concavity, and shell shape change with age as the tortoise matures.

Angulate tortoise hatchling (Chersina angulata)

Just hatched Angulate baby. Notice the stubby, but broad gular.

Angulate tortoise hatchling (Chersina angulata)

In hatchlings, the gular shield is short and wide. Same for the anal scutes. Both are almost straight lines.

Adult females

angulate tortoise female

Female Angulate tortoise. Notice the short, fat, stubby tail with a a little tip.

angulate tortoise female

Female Angulate's tail from the front.

chersina angulata female

Female Angulate's tail from the back.

Adult males

angulate tortoise male

Male Angulate tortoise. The tail is a little longer and shaped like a deep letter V. You may occasionally see your male tortoise "flash" his male organ. Here's a photo. Caution: The pic is illustrative and may not be suitable for small children.

bowsprit tortoise male

Male Angulate tortoise. Often, it's difficult to see the tail because it's kept hidden like this.

chersina angulata male

Male Angulate tortoise. This photo is a bit blurry, but it shows well the deep letter V shape and the length of the tail.

angulate tortoise male

Male Angulate tortoise. This photo shows the long slit shape, or groove, of the cloacal opening. I took this photo right after he pooped. So, the vent is still a bit open.

Adult pair

male and female Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata)

A mature, breeding age pair. The male on the left is a bit more elongated in body shape and has more of a flare in the back. This flaring is not present in young males. The female on the right is more rounded in overall shape and flares very little in the back.

adult female Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata)

Adult female Angulate. Notice the shorter length of the gular scute (throat shield). The tail is tucked in so you cannot see the tip of it. The belly is flat.

Note: Many Angulates, like the one above, have very red bellies. It's not a sign of illness, but a feature of the species. One of the local names for Angulates is "Rooipens skilpad" (red-bellied tortoise).

adult male Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata)

Adult male Angulate. The gular shield is noticeable longer than in the female. Males use their gulars to overturn each other during fights. As usual, the tail is tucked in. The belly is slightly concave.

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