Those who decide to engage in the cultivation of turtles need to know by what signs it is possible to determine the sex of the animal. It turns out that this is not as simple as it seems at first glance – externally, boys and girls are almost indistinguishable, unlike other animals. It is equally important to know how long this reptile lives in the natural environment and at home, and for this, again, you will have to arm yourself with some information.
How to determine the sex of a land tortoise
So, how do you know the gender of the turtle, and finally give it the appropriate name? Unfortunately, for this you have to wait until the pet reaches puberty, and this period corresponds to 7-8 years of reptile life. At the same time, its shell should be at least ten centimeters in length. In order not to wait so long, you have to resort to another method. Sex can be identified by a number of distinctive external characteristics of the reptile.
For example, by shell, or rather, by its abdominal shield – plastron:
- in females it is practically a flat plane without any indentations or concavities, and in some species the scutellum is slightly convex at all;
- males have, as befits men, a leaner abdomen – their carapace is concave in shape, and on the hips of the hind legs, as a rule, there are growths in the form of spurs.
The condition of the carapace can confirm the sexual identity of the reptile with its tubercles, which are most pronounced in girls – in males they are initially not so prominent, but smoother every year, disappearing completely by the age of puberty.
The claws of the animal can also give an idea of who is in front of you – a boy or a girl:
- In fact, the claws on the turtle feet of reptiles of both sexes differ significantly in their length and thickness. Horn plates of males are much longer and stronger – this is due to the fact that during the mating season they need them to cling tightly to the shell of the female.
- Girls do not need such devices, so their claws are short and rather dull.
At home, on this basis, it can be difficult to determine the sex due to the fact that in captivity the stratum corneum of pets can grind on the terrarium ground or the turtles do it themselves.
Among other characteristics that can help in determining sex are the tail and cesspool of the animal:
- In boys, the tail is wider and longer, hidden under the carapace, which bends downward in this zone. This is due to the fact that underneath is the genital organ. But the ladies have a short thin tail can be found outside.
- The cesspool of a reptile is also a subject for research. In females, it is shifted to the edge of the shell and has the shape of a small asterisk, while in the male it is somewhat moved away from the plastron and is presented in the form of a longitudinal strip.
If a swamp turtle has become a pet, just look into her eyes – usually in females they are amber-yellow, and in males they are darker with a brown tint.
It is possible to evaluate the sex of an animal in accordance with visual observations of the behavior and size of animals. If several reptiles of the same age are placed in one terrarium, you can immediately notice that some are somewhat larger than others. Females always differ in more impressive dimensions, since their reproductive task is to carry and lay eggs.
Different behaviors during the mating season can also betray representatives of different sexes in animals. Females, as a rule, behave rather restrainedly, which cannot be said about males. To attract the attention of his beloved, the boy will be very active in moving around the terrarium, nodding his head in different directions, moving his tail, lifting himself, waving his front paws. A sexually mature male is aggressive towards his rivals – he can attack, bite and strike with clawed legs, try to turn his opponent on his back.
How to determine the age of the turtle
Sometimes a pet comes to us from an unknown owner, and there’s no one to ask about, but it’s very important to know about the age of the pet.
One way is to find out, calculate the age arithmetically, based on the fact that every year a newborn reptile 3 centimeters in size and weighs 10 g grows by 2 cm.This is the average norm accepted for all representatives of medium and small sized land reptiles. Accordingly, a pet by 10 years old will have a length of about 18-20 centimeters. But do not forget that some species of turtles are more active in the growth of females.
Another way is to study the horn shells of the carapace, which become more rigid every year. In the first year, up to 2-3 light layers are formed, and after five years they tend to darken, after which such "rings" begin to appear in the turtle annually. The old turtle can be distinguished by a pale shell without a bright pattern.
How much land tortoise lives at home
The life span of land turtles depends on external and internal factors, in particular on the environment in which they live, as well as on the physiological characteristics of the organism of this animal species.
Representatives of wildlife live for about 150 years, and the larger the individual, the longer its life, while domestic turtles can live next to a person for no more than 50-60 years, although this is not a short term. Of course, the main role in this is played by the proper care, maintenance and nutrition of a small pet.
Scientists explain such a big difference by the fact that in the natural environment the animal, in fact, constantly being on a forced diet, while continuously moving in search of food. This gives her certain advantages, which are deprived, for the most part, of their domestic brethren, literally fed up to death. This is why veterinarians regularly remind owners that a reptile should not overeat.
The age of a land turtle is not a hindrance to its active, cognitive activity, and it doesn’t matter that the animal is not a model of speed – this amazing reptile can live and delight its owners for a long time if the owner takes real care of his little unusual pet.