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Differentiating Male and Female Geochelone carbonaria (Red-foot tortoise) - Darrell Senneke

Copyright © 2003 World Chelonian Trust. All rights reserved

Related articles:

Video - Breeding G. carbonaria (Redfoot tortoise)

Geochelone Gallery

Redfoot Tortoise Care - Darrell Senneke

Sexing Geochelone carbonaria is fairly easily done. Red-foot  tortoises have distinct differences between the sexes,  this page should help you identify which sex you have. 


Please also see the care sheet on this species at:  Geochelone carbonaria - Red-foot Tortoises   - Darrell Senneke and Chris Tabaka DVM


The easiest way to sex this species is by the length of the tail and the slightly concave plastron of the male.  This pair are typical for the species in general.  The male can be seen on the left in the paired pictures below. Please note that these distinctions often do not appear until the animal is 6 or 7 inches (15 - 18 cm) in length. It is not unusual to find that the Red-foot one thought was a female is really a male. 




As you can see, the plastron of the male is concave in comparison to the female.    

Male Geochelone carbonaria

Female Geochelone carbonaria


As can be seen in the close-up below, the female's tail (on the right) is much shorter in length. The curvature to the female's anal scutes is also different from the male's. 

Male Geochelone carbonaria

Female Geochelone carbonaria

  - World Chelonian Trust


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