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Boy or Girl Greek?

Gender determination

How do you know if you have a male or a female Greek tortoise? 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. In males, the cloacal opening looks like a slit while in females it's more puckered and roundish.

3.) Plastron

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

In many tortoise species, the angle of the anal scutes is wider in males and narrower in females with a more round opening to allow passage of eggs. With my golden Greeks though, it's almost the opposite. My Greek males have the more roundish, or triangular, anal scute openings and the females have the narrower openings. The shape of the anal scutes is not universal and can vary from individual to individual.

golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise pair

A beautiful golden Mesopotamian tortoise pair. Adult females are often much larger than males. Males are smaller and may be somewhat flatter in shape.

Male golden Greeks

Some examples of golden Greek / Mesopotamian tortoise males.

golden  Mesopotamian Greek tortoise male

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.

golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise male

Same adult male as a above with a slightly concave plastron. His anal scute opening is roundish, or triangular, which in other species is typical for females.

golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise male

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 Greeks

Some examples of golden Greek / Mesopotamian tortoise females.

golden Greek tortoise female

Adult female golden Greek tortoise. Females have shorter tails than adult males.

adult female golden Greek tortoise

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.

adult golden greek tortoise female

Another, less peach colored adult female. The cloacal opening is close to the plastron. The bony opening for the tail is less round and kind of mustache shaped, which in other species is typical for males.

female golden Greek tortoise

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.

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