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I created this blog as an instrument of what I have encountered in the world of veterinary medicine as a proud vet student. Comments and suggestions are welcome here at;


Aina Meducci 2012


The following blog posts is not genuinely from my research but through readings and citation from trusted website. I do not own any of the copyright and therefore you may use it at your own risk


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Turtle sexing and tortoise differentiation

Can you tell it's gender??

I was on my way to my room when suddenly I saw many cats in front of one of vet junior's room. She gave them cat's biscuit and showed her 2 turtle. One is big and another one is smaller. I asked her how to differentiate between male and female turtle. She said there's something on the tail but she couldn't figure that out. Then how do we differentiate between turtle and tortoise? is it the same?? So, I think this could be the post for today.


The sexes of turtle cannot be differentiate when young. There are certain characteristics which can be differentiate between male and female turtle

This is how to handle turtle

1. Look at the tortoise tail

Turtles have cloaca located at their tail. Male have cloaca located farther away from the body, about half to 2/3 the distance from the shell and more toward to the tip of tail. Female turtles have the cloaca closer to the body , almost under the overlap of the shell.

mature male

** Male turtles often have fatter and longer tails than female

2. Look at the bottom or underbelly of the turtle's shell.

If the plastron (bottom shell) is convex, it is the female. It it's plastron is rounded (concave) or goes in toward the shell the inside the body then the turtle is male. Convex plastron provides more room for eggs, while concave plastron fits the female while mating.

Check out the bottom

3. Look at fore and front claws

Most male turtles have very long front claws. They use for courtship. Fore claws is usually same for both gender

4. Turtle's size

In most species, female are larger than male turtles. But the differences is usually very small.

5. Look at the species specified clues

Depending on the species, there maybe other clues. For example Red-eared slider, the male's front claws is longer than female

Red- eared sliders


Ok, maybe some confused (like I was) because both resemble to each other and sometimes people refer tortoise as pet while turtle are the ones that live in the sea...


Check this out




Below is the general between the turtle and tortoise

Tortoises and Turtles are both reptiles from the family of Testudines, the major difference being that the land dwelling ones are called Tortoises and water dwelling are called Turtles. The body of a tortoise and a turtle both is shielded by a shell, the upper part of which is called Carapace and the lower portion is called Plastron. The Carapace and the Plastron are attached at the end by a bridge which means that though the head and limbs may be withdrawn from the shell, the whole body can never be totally detached from it. These reptiles are generally reclusive and shy in nature.

Differences in habitat

A Turtle lives in the water and a tortoise lives on land. Both turtle and tortoise lay eggs on the ground. The mother will dig a burrow and lay two to twelve eggs there but in the case of a Turtle, the hatchlings will stay inside the egg for 90 to 120 days while in a Tortoise, the hatchling will follow the mother to its own burrow. Turtle hatchlings incubate ontheir own and once the process is complete they dig their way to the surface but in the case of a Tortoise, the mother provides protection to the hatchling for about 80 days after which they survive on their own.

Differences in physical characteristics

A tortoise has a dome shaped shell with short and sturdy feet. It's legs are bent, instead of being straight and directy under the body. A turtle has a flat streamlined shell with webbed feet with long claws. In the case of a Turtle, the limbs are quite similar to that of a Tortoise but its feet are webbed and have long claws which provide a good grip upon floating logs and help clamber on to riverbanks. Some turtles might even have flippers as is, in the case of the famous Pig-nose Turtles.

Tortoise vs Turtle shell

The shells that cover the body of these reptiles are very important as it gives us a fair idea of how these reptiles live. As Turtles live in water, the shell of a turtle is flat and streamlined which aids in swimming and diving while that of a Tortoise, which lives on land, is rather large and dome shaped to provide protection from the predators. Also, the shell of a Tortoise is quite heavy as compared to that of a Turtle which is lighter to avoid sinking and help swim faster in the water.

Differences in diet

Tortoises are herbivores while turtles can be both herbivores and carnivores

Differences of turtles and tortoise

Turtles lay eggs, like other reptiles, which are slightly soft and leathery.Turtle hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days. Female tortoises dig burrows in which they lay from two to twelve eggs. Hatchlings take approximately 90-120 days to incubate within the ping-pong-ball sized eggs.

Difference in lifespan

Tortoises generally have lifespans comparable with those of human beings, and some individuals are known to have lived longer than 150 years. The oldest tortoise life recorded was of an animal that lived for 188 years. Common lifespan of a turtle is estimated at between 20-40 years.

Other characteristics

Limbs : Tortoise have short and sturdy with bent legs. Turtle have webbed feet with long claws

Family: Both are testudines

Shape of shell: Tortoise mostly dome shaped shell. Turtle is mostly flat, streamlined shells

Birth: Tortoise hatclings, move from their nest to the mothers burrow soon after birth. Turtles hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days.

Definition: A tortoise is a reptile from the testudines family and dwells well on land. A turtle is a reptile from the testudines family and dwells well in the water.

Lifespan: Tortoise; 80-150 years Turtle; 20-40 years

Pet: Tortoise is not kept as pet. Turtle yes

Weigth of shell: Tortoise is heavier while turtle is light weight shell

Ps: So, have you got the term tortoise-turtle right??

Sources: wikiHow; how to tell if a turtle is male or female,

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