How Much Should A 5 Month Old Bearded Dragon Weigh How to Tell the Gender of Red Eared Slider Turtles

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How to Tell the Gender of Red Eared Slider Turtles

How to tell the sex of red-eared turtles is important. Many pet owners enjoy the antics of their Red-eared Slider for months or even years without worrying about whether their pet is male or female. Eventually, however, curiosity prevails and they want to know. Maybe they are thinking about adding another turtle to the tank and think it would be best to have a male and a female.

Additionally, many pet owners dream of their turtles mating, watching their own pets lay eggs, and having the thrill of seeing those eggs hatch into baby turtles. If it happens naturally, that’s one thing. But it is generally not recommended to try to make a male and female to produce young, unless you are a professional turtle breeder.

But just the same, how do you tell the difference between the sexes?

As a general rule, female Red-eared Sliders are larger than males. A fully grown female can have a shell as long as 11 inches, but a male will rarely grow more than 8 inches. Adult females are also heavier, weighing more than 4 kg.

But what if you don’t have fully grown pets? How do you say it? The fact is, until they’re at least 4 inches long, it’s sometimes hard to tell. Well, one way to tell is by the length of the front claws: a male Red-eared Slider usually has longer front claws than the female – relative to its size, of course. However, if your turtle is very young or late going through a growth spurt, then this won’t necessarily be a surefire way to tell, at least not by itself.

Something else to note here: male Red-eared Sliders also have longer, thinner tails than females, with a small opening (cloaca or hole) near the middle of the tail, halfway between the shell and the tip of the tail. Females have short tails and their orifice is closer to the base of their shell, almost below the shell covering.

One obvious way to tell is if your turtle is laying eggs – and yes, female turtles sometimes lay eggs without a male turtle present.

Males also have curved bellies while females have outwardly curved or flat bellies. Do not turn your turtle over to take a look, however, as this is harmful to its health. Instead, lift it high enough to look at its underside.

Some of the above methods for determining the sex of your turtle are less definitive than others. However, if most or all of the signs point in one direction, then you are sure to have sexed your turtle correctly. If you’re still in doubt, however, and really want to know, ask your vet the next time you get your turtle.

A reminder: wash your hands with soap and water after each time you handle your turtle. Turtles are often infected with salmonella, and the bacteria that cause this disease can transmit a disease called salmonellosis to their owners. Each year in the United States alone, turtles (along with other reptiles) transmit 74,000 known cases of salmonellosis to humans. So be careful!

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