Turtle is a long-lived animal. At home with good care, a reptile can live up to 50 years. Owners keep an account of the pet’s years from the date announced by the breeder, or from the date of purchase. To find out how old the tortoise has a history and life path which is unknown, you can use external signs.
Sizes and Age
The simplest criterion is the size of the back of the animal’s armor. Measurements are taken in the center line along the shell. It should be straight, without taking into account the bending of the carapace. Individual parameters are compared with the average for the species.
Determine the age of the land tortoise as well as freshwater, grown at home, it will not work exactly in size. Getting plenty of food, living at a favorable temperature all year round, the reptile grows faster than wild relatives. A pet can noticeably outperform statistics.
Common types of domestic turtles – red-eared and Central Asian, do not differ in growth pattern. Newborns hatch with a shell of 2.5-3 cm long. By the year they grow up to 5-6 cm. By the second year of life, the difference between females and males becomes noticeable. In these species, girls are larger. Two-year-old males grow up to 8 cm, females a centimeter more. By the third year, boys gain another 2 centimeters, girls about 5. From the fourth year, regardless of gender, for 4 seasons turtles grow by 2 cm.
Along the growth rings
The shell of a free reptile grows cyclically. Therefore, by the appearance of the upper part, one can understand how and how much the reptile lived. The intensity of the process is affected by the climatic indicators of the area and the schedule of its annual activity. Home reptiles live in stable conditions and do not hibernate according to the schedule. Their armor is less susceptible to wear, as it is not attacked by predators and does not come into contact with rough terrain. To determine how old the tortoise is by shell, you need to make adjustments for the living conditions of a particular individual.
The back of the armor is called carapace. It consists of dense shields that are separated by grooves. The seams between the plates in animals under 4 years old are light, and begin to darken with age. Shields on the shell grow from the middle, due to which centric grooves form on each. They are called growth rings. To find out the age of a red-eared or Central Asian tortoise by shell, you need to calculate the number of furrows on the shield.
Herpetologists recommend deriving the average between the number of rings on several shields, as sometimes the parameter does not match.
In individuals younger than two years old, a new furrow appears about once every three months. During this time, the turtle can form 8-12 rings. An adult reptile in 12 months has only one ring. Turtles that did not hibernate have fuzzy growth rings with blurred borders.
The quality of the claws and the condition of the shell will not help in accurately determining the age, but they can distinguish between an elderly individual and a mature one. In adult reptiles, the claws are massive, larger. Young turtles are more active and active, older individuals lead a measured lifestyle.
- worn, monolithic shell;
- smooth shields without growth rings;
- passive behavior;
- noticeable claw wear.
In burrowing species, carapax deteriorates faster. This is due to friction with the soil, while the animal builds and uses shelter.
Young red-eared turtles have a bright, saturated color. Over time, bright stains fade and merge. Red spots on the sides of the head that gave the species a name may also indicate a growth phase. In youth, they are bright scarlet, later the color darkens and acquires brown shades.
Human turtles age
Do not try to derive a formula that will allow the reptile to equate the year of life to some human period. For objectivity, it is better to rely on the phases of development of the animal. This is harder for reptiles than for mammals. In the stages of development of the human body and the turtle, there are significant differences.
Childhood is the period from hatching to puberty. The first visual differences between males and females become noticeable from the age of two. By an average of 5 years, reptiles are able to produce offspring. In captivity, red-eared and Central Asian turtles live up to 25-30 years, some individuals with good care celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The second birthday of the turtle by human standards can be compared with the decade of a child. By the age of five, the reproductive system is fully formed in the reptile.
This phase corresponds to the 16th anniversary of man. 20 for a pet is the same as for its owner 50. An animal after 30 can be considered elderly, and it is worth providing increased attention.
Comparison is relevant for red-eared and steppe turtles. For breeds with a different development cycle, it is worth adjusting for data on a particular species. In a similar way, you can compare the age of pets from different families and orders.