How To Tell The Age Or Sex Of A Turtle

by valerie cherry
(Melrose Park IL 60160)

How do I know if my turtle is a boy or a girl?

And how do I know how old my turtle is?

Hi Valerie,

Lots of people have the problems you have.

First, here's how to tell the sex of a turtle. You will pay attention to two body parts.
1. Look at the plastron. That's the bottom shell. If it is concave -- dents upward toward the inside of the turtle -- you have a boy.
2. Look at the tail. Boys have longer and thicker tails. Or course, this helps you only if you can see other turtles like yours. You didn't send a picture, so we can't help you more than that.

Second, you want to know the age of a turtle. The only real way to know is to be there when the turtle is born. If the turtle is young, size can help you if you know what is normal for the type of turtle you have.

Some people think that you can tell how old a turtle is by counting the rings on its shell the way you can with a tree, but that isn't true.

Keep it slow and steady,


Comments for How To Tell The Age Or Sex Of A Turtle

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Jul 25, 2018
Age of RES
by: Shelly

See the answer further down in the responses in this thread.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jul 20, 2018
by: Anonymous

Rescued a baby RES and now my baby is a lot bigger..Went from a couple of inches to 5 or more inches overthe course of a year. Would like to understand how to figure out if it's a boy or girl to name my cutie properly.

Jan 26, 2017
sexing a yellow bellied slider
by: Shelly

You need to wait until the animal is about 4" long.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jan 26, 2017
by: Gail

My yellow slider is about 3.2 1/2" long, is it too young to be sexed or cud I send u a picture of it and u let me know what u think, thank you!!

Dec 20, 2016
by: Susan

My grandson found this baby turtle where he was fishing he brought it home.the turtle had dirt dryed on it so my daughter took a soft tooth brush and stuck it under the fauet and he or she loved it the turtle lives in a 10 gal tank he seems to like it so to the lady that asked about having s film on its shell try the with the tooth brush

Jun 14, 2016
Boy or girl
by: Anonymous

Boy turtles are smaller then girl tuurtles.

Jun 04, 2016
Trouble with Age
by: Jasmine Hassler

I was trying to figure out how old my mississippi map turtle is. He was a wild turtle that we have found the vet can't even figure it out so i need another way to figure it out.

Jun 01, 2016
The facts
by: Shelly

I'm sorry that you did not like the answer. It is, however, the only scientific answer. Once a chelonian is an adult, there is no way to tell how old it is. If the shell is worn, you will know the animal is probably older than one with a shell that is less worn, but even that is not a sure bet. The truth is that the only sure way to know the age of a chelonian is to know when it hatched.

May 29, 2016
Having trouble with age
by: Cure Scarlet

First off, I only came to this website because I wanna see how old my Yellow Bellied turtle and Western Painted turtle is. Saying about it hatching, not working! One of our family members found them near the freaking streets! No offense, but helping with the age was not useful.

May 19, 2016
by: kim

My turtle is small it is a girl

Dec 13, 2015
Sick RES
by: Anonymous

All these animals are very ill. They must see a vet. If the film on their eyes is not dealt with (NOT with iodine!) They will be blind. Turtles find food by sight, so unless you want to hand feed them all, you absoltuley must get that treated. Andyouare right, some of the others have respiratory infections, and that will soon be true of all of them unless they are separated asap.

Dec 13, 2015
Sick RES
by: Shelly

All these animals are very ill. They must see a vet. If the film on their eyes is not dealt with (NOT with iodine!) They will be blind. Turtles find food by sight, so unless you want to hand feed them all, you absoltuley must get that treated. Andyouare right, some of the others have respiratory infections, and that will soon be true of all of them unless they are separated asap.

Dec 13, 2015
by: Megan

Hi.. So I recently came to own 19 r.e.s, now that might sound bad, but hear me out; 3 of them are adult, Or at least Capable of reproduction. and the other 16 are hatchlings, I am really concerned because All the turltes eyes, Save for one Adult and 2 of the offspring are covered in this thick white film, and they're not very active, and the two adults have bubbly noses and one sticks his neck all the way out and opens his mouth like he's gasping for breath. I was told by the person i got them from, to put iodine on their eyes, but i thinks it's an RI. Help me please, If you can.

Nov 24, 2015
fins on turtle shell
by: Shelly

I am sorry that I have never heard of any turtle having fins on its shell. I can't imagine what that could be.

Keep it slow and steady.

Nov 20, 2015
turtle ridges on top of shell
by: rafiel:)

We had our lovely dylatello few months ago since we gave him a mate and he has the rite lighting he's had fin like spikes come up in the middle of his shell he's tiny and content just want to know what these spikes are

Oct 29, 2015
Turtle Photo
by: Shelly

You can share your photos and information about your pet at

Keep it slow and steady.

Oct 29, 2015
my turtle Crush
by: Chelle

How can i send you a photo of my lovely turtle Crush ?

Oct 23, 2015
How old could my yellow belly slider be ?
by: Anonymous

I have a yellow belly slider which was bought for a gift and i am tryig to find out the age he is 2inches long male can anyone help please ?

Jul 31, 2015
Tortoise age
by: Shelly

You cannot a tortoise tell from the number of rings on the shell, but it is possible that a tortoise could live longer than you.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jul 31, 2015
I&I tortouse
by: Ras Edmond

I&I tortoise is so small and has many rings pon its shell man,me count and them tell I that I&I torti has 37 yrs and I'm only 30.Is torti me big brother?Am I taking care of thi elder who was suppose fi take care of I&I?

Jul 29, 2015
Concave plastron
by: Shelly

Conclave means the dent goes in toward the body.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jul 28, 2015
what are concave dents
by: Anonymous

What are concave dents

Jul 15, 2015
cant pick it up
by: Anonymous

If you cant pick up the turtle then you must ask your teacher to teach you how one can tell its sex. the best way to learn is study know sexes turtles and find that difference one has that the other doesn't then come back and tell us all how you can tell a sex by looking and not touching.

Jul 02, 2015
Red Eared Slider age
by: Anonymous

my RES is quite small, I think it's like 1 year old but I don't know the actual age.. Help!

Jun 18, 2015
help me please!!
by: courtney

Ok so i just got two turtles today and i cant tell how old they are or if there female or male, one is bigger and lighter colored and the other is small a s a really dark green color and i dont know what breed they are can someone help me please??

Jun 15, 2015
Found in road
by: Mark

So I see this box turtle in middle of busy road. So I pick em up for obvious reasons (road kill). I live in woods and am planning to take him there so he/she won't become road kill. I'm sure it will adjust to new surroundings right?

Jun 11, 2015
my turtle
by: Anonymous

i have a turtle and i have had her for about 10+ years... i have no clue how old she is!!! please help me find out??

Jun 08, 2015
Catching wild turtles
by: Shelly

Please put the turtle back. It is not a good idea to take a turtle from the wild. It knows exactly what it needs. If you put it where you found it, it will manage on its own.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jun 07, 2015
by: Brandon Stevens

I saw a turtle hatch a week ago and saw it today and caught it I don't know how old it is!!! Can u help me

Jun 01, 2015
by: Rebecca

Okay well I found a turtle. It looks like a baby. It has a soft belly. And has algae all over the shell and only has 3 legs. What do I do to help him.

May 17, 2015
by: Chelle

Hi. I have a yellow bellied slider and is 7in long 4incs wide how old could he be please.

Mar 22, 2015
Tortoise age
by: Shelly

Please see this answer to the question...

Mar 20, 2015
Red eared slider age
by: Anonymous

How can I tell how old my two turtles are? Is there a way?

Oct 31, 2014
Hardening Plastron
by: Shelly

This information will probably apply to your situation.

Oct 29, 2014
age of turtle
by: nicole

how can i tell how old a yellow belly slideris

Oct 27, 2014
by: Livi

A friend of mine brought in two very very young snapping turtles to give a teacher who works at the local wild life sanctuary (though I don't know her because i have no classes with her). He said it was because he didn't want them getting hit by a car or something.
We were trying to guess their ages and I noticed how soft their plastrons were. I've never seen a turtle with one so squishy. Is that a normal thing? I'm guessing that its because of their age, and if so, when do they begin to harden?

Dec 19, 2013
Help please
by: Jessie

We found a turtle in our backyard yesterday we need help finding out his name

Nov 14, 2013
Turtle Gender
by: Yen

You can tell the sex of a turtle by also its size. In most species, the female is bigger than a male.

May 20, 2012
Male/Female differentitaiton
by: Anonymous

there is another way to tell if a turtle is male or female. look at its tail, if its butt hole is farther down the tail its a male. If the hole is closer to the shell its a female. Hope that helps :) I took my 2 red-eared sliders to pet smart to make sure.

Mar 06, 2012
by: Anonymous

What is a concave??

Feb 07, 2012
by: Anonymous

Concave means dented in. I always remember by thinking of a cave.

Convex means bulged out, by the way. Just saying.

Feb 07, 2012
by: Anonymous

i dont know what concave is so im never going to find out what my aquatic turtle is.. thanks Tisha Walker

Aug 24, 2009
Dear tortoise asker.
by: Anonymous

ok if you want to know the sex its only by the tail and shell if you can see the bottom of the shell, flip it, BUT BE CAREFULL NOT IN THE WATER because it cant breath like that, how ever, if its flat she is a girl if its like a small hill going up he is a boy.hope it help

Sep 25, 2008
Ssex of a turtle by it's tail
by: Anonymous

how do you tell the sex of a turtle if you can't pick it up? my teacher wants us to tell her but says we can't pick it up. she says there is a way to tell by it's shell and i have searched everywhere and all it tells me is by the tail and by the plas thing (the bottom of the shell) HELP!!!! i need to no now!!!

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