The Russian Tortoise 
Agrionemys horsfieldii ( Testudo horsfieldii)  

Is It a Boy? Or a Girl?

Another common  question that I am asked is "How can I tell what sex my tortoise is?"

The most important factor in determining sex is the tortoise's size. Until a male reaches 5" they often appear the same as a female. Some however show male characteristic at smaller sizes. However, I have been surprised on more than one occasion to find that my female was actually a male!

Females have a short stubby tail. The cloaca resembles an asterisk  *

The tail of the male is much longer and usually is carried to the side. At the tip is curved hard "spur" that is used to help with mating.  The female can also have a spur, but it is smaller.  The cloaca resembles a long slit

Click on the pictures below to see an enlarged view.

Close up of a mles tail


mature male
Mature Male

Note how far to the right the tail reaches.

female tail




female and male
male and female

The female is on the left. Notice the tail differences.

Thanks to Brittany Duford and Steve for the great pictures !

male female

The male is on the left. Notice the shell over the tail reaches the ground. 



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