What Gender Is My Tortoise

by Marty
(Norwalk, CA, USA)

We have had our California desert tortoise for about six years. Before that it belonged to my daughter who had to give it up due to space issues. Her husband found it roaming a busy street in Riverside, Ca. I have no idea of its age.

All outward appearances indicate that Benni is a female.

Flat underside shell, single horn under the head.
She has not laid eggs in the six years we have had it.

One other clue. It makes an awful screeching sound from time to time.

What do you think?

Comments for What Gender Is My Tortoise

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Oct 22, 2008
Egg layer or not
by: Anonymous

Does a female tort lay eggs if she hasn't bred with a male?

Oct 22, 2008
by: kp

You have a boy. Males make that screech sound. Thay also have longer tails that tuck sideways into their shell. And they have flat rimmed shells (no chutes sticking out around the edges). The tortoise appears to be male to me.

That's okay though. You choose to bother over it or not. My tort was a boy for 3 years until a vet told me otherwise. Now i've had my beautiful female tort for 7 years.

Oct 22, 2008
by: Anonymous

A flat shell usually means it's female, yet male torts are the ones who make the screeching sounds.
Not all male torts have this groove, so it could be a male. If the torts tail is fairly long, and has to tuck sideways to be concealed, that usually means it's a boy. You could always take her to a wildlife shelter and they could tell you for free.

I suggest that if your tortoise does not seem to be unhappy, and you are not trying to breed it,then you assume she is a girl. After all, she's been a she for 6 years now right? Her identity is solid, so i wouldn't stress over the issue.

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