How can you tell a male from a female tortoise?

A tortoise is a land reptile with an exoskeleton, which is a hard shell.

In fact, there is a hard shell on the top (called a carapace) and a hard shell underneath (called a plastron).

How can you tell a male tortoise from a female tortoise? One way to tell the difference between a male and a female tortoise is to turn it around and look at the plastron – the underbelly shell.

female tortoise

a female tortoise with a flat, smooth plastron

 

A female tortoise has a flat, smooth plastron.

A male tortoise has a concave plastron (it curves inward towards the body). The concave plastron looks like is has a hollow section.

male tortoise

a male tortoise with a concave (hollow) plastron

 

male tortoise

a male tortoise with a concave plastron

 

A female tortoise has triangular shapes at the end of the plastron.

Female tortoise with triangular shapes on the end of the plastron

 

A male tortoise has rounded shapes at the end of the plastron.

Male tortoise with round shapes on the end of the plastron

 

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

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