Sexing tie-dyed turtles

Happy World Turtle Day!

The ancient eavesdropper


I found this juvenile male Western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) today. He was full of energy after eating the sardine bait in the hoop trap. You might be wondering how you determine the sex of these colorful creatures. There are three ways to distinguish the sex of a turtle: 1) length of front nails; 2) body size; and 3) vent position on tail.

Males typically have longer front nails and smaller body weights and carapace lengths.  In case you were wondering, carapace isn’t referring to his codpiece, but his shell, so I’m not trying to demean their manhood! Longer nails are used chiefly for courtship and mating.  It’s ironic that this trait would be a sign of femininity or poor hygiene with human males, altogether unattractive to the fairer sex!  Conversely, females have shorter nails with larger bodies to allow more room for a clutch of 1- 25…

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About tyler4turtles

I am an avid photographer, poet, ecologist, bookworm, blogger, art enthusiast and runner who calls Montana home but lives in Oregon.
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3 Responses to Sexing tie-dyed turtles

  1. Deborah Moss says:

    What an AMAZING turtle! Thanks for sharing photo & info. Deborah 🐢

  2. kestrelgwh says:

    Tyler, thanks for the extraordinary photograph and for the lesson on turtle gender. It all makes me smile with appreciation for the wonders of the world.

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