Golden Greek Tortoises
- male vs female -
A beautiful Golden Greek tortoise pair (Mesopotamian tortoise, Testudo graeca terrestris). Adult females are often much larger than males.
How do you know if you have a boy or a girl? Babies and young tortoises can be difficult to sex accurately, but in adult Greek tortoises (Testudo graeca), the gender specific traits are usually more obvious.
1.) Body & tail size
- The easiest way to sex adult Greek tortoises is by the overall body size and the length of the tail. Mature females can be twice as big as males. Mature males have longer tails and females have shorter, stubby tails. Although, the difference in the tail length is not always that noticeable.
2.) Cloacal opening
- Location of the cloacal opening is another clue to gender. In females, the tail opening is closer to the body. In males, the opening is not quite as close to the body but further down the tail.
- Adult males have slightly concave (sunken) plastrons while females' plastrons are flatter.
4.) Plastron hinge
- Greek females have a movable plastron joint that allows the last part of the plastron to open up a bit for egg laying. However, my Golden Greek males have some flexibility in their plastron joints as well. It's not evident in just born hatchlings, but will become noticeable a few months later.
5.) Anal scutes
- Usually, the angle of the anal scutes is wider in male tortoises and narrower in females with a more round opening to allow passage of eggs. In my Greeks though, it's not that clear. Many of my Greek males have the more roundish, or triangular, anal scute openings making them resemble females. The shape of the anal scutes is not universal, but can vary from individual to individual.
Male Golden Greek tortoises
Wild caught, adult male Golden Greek. His tail is bigger and longer than females' tails. Greeks tails are blunt at the end and do not have a "nail tip" like Hermann's tortoises' tails do.
Same adult male as a above. He has a slightly concave plastron and his anal scute opening is triangular. He could be confused with a female due to the roundish shape of the bony opening.
One of the Golden Greek males I've hatched and raised. As you can see, my Greek males' tails are not superbly long. When the tail is held to the side, tip of it is just past the tips of the anal scutes.
Female Golden Greek tortoises
Wild caught, adult female Golden Greek. Females have shorter tails than adult males.
Same adult female as above. Her tail is short and stubby. Her plastron is flatter and less concave than that of a mature male. When her tail is tucked to the side, the tail end just about reaches the tip of the anal scutes.
Another wild caught, less peach colored adult female. The cloacal opening is close to the plastron. However, the bony opening is small and less roundish making her resemble a male.
One of the adult Golden Greek females I've hatched and raised. When picked up, females typically leave their tails like this, but males like to tug theirs to the side.