- male vs female -
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.
Just hatched Angulate baby. Notice the stubby, but broad gular.
In hatchlings, the gular shield is short and wide. Same for the anal scutes. Both are almost straight lines.
Female Angulate tortoise. Notice the short, fat, stubby tail with a a little tip.
Female Angulate's tail from the front.
Female Angulate's tail from the back.
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.
Male Angulate tortoise. Often, it's difficult to see the tail because it's kept hidden like this.
Male Angulate tortoise. This photo is a bit blurry, but it shows well the deep letter V shape and the length of the tail.
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.
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. 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.
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.