First of all you should know that the sexing of a Hermann turtle can only be confirmed for adult animals. The distinctive signs of young turtles are not very nuanced and it is difficult to identify the sex. The turtle Hermann male and female adults are easily recognizable thanks to some clues.
Determining the sex of a baby turtle
The determination of the sex of a Hermann turtle is pronounced from the incubation phase when the fetus is still developing inside the egg. The incubation temperature therefore has a direct influence on the determination of the sex of the turtle.
For babies to develop properly, the incubation temperature should be between 28 and 32°C. A low temperature around 28°C results in male land turtles. While around 32°C are rather female land turtles. It is also necessary to ensure that the level of hygrometry is at a sufficient level. The influence of temperature on the sex determination of animals is observed in a large number of reptile species.
In captivity, the chances of obtaining Testudo Hermanni babies are significantly greater, as each egg that is laid is usually placed in an artificial incubator where conditions are optimal. The temperature and humidity levels are perfectly optimized.
In nature, the eggs being buried in the ground, the sexes are more random. If it is too cold the eggs either do not develop properly or do not develop at all. Baby turtles Testudo Hermanni are not brooded by their mothers, unlike mammals.
Sea turtles travel the world to return to their birth range and lay their eggs. Many pacific green sea turtles lay eggs on Galapagos Island.
How to recognize a male or female Hermann turtle
It is only from the fifth year of life of a land turtle that it is possible to know if it is a male or a female.
An adult male Hermann tortoise is smaller in size than a female of the same age. The underside of the male’s shell, also called the plastron, is hollow so that it can fit the female’s shell during mating. We say that this plastron is concave. While that of the female is completely flat. These distinctive signs are better understood in pictures.
Recognize a male turtle
During the breeding season, the male does not hesitate to bite the hind legs and claws of his partner in an attempt to immobilize. The male Testudo Hermanni uses his front legs and claws to position himself and attach himself to the shell of the female. Its concave plastron hugs the top of the female’s shell.
The male Hermann tortoise also has a longer tail tucked to the side. While the female’s tail is much shorter and slender at the base.
The horny claw located at the end of the tail is about 3 times longer in the male than in the female species. In addition, the cloaca of the male turtle, which represents the anus, is further from the base of the tail, in order to be able to easily penetrate its partner.
Note that unlike Greek turtles, Hermann turtles have horny claws at the end of their tail.
Recognize a female turtle
Conversely, the underside of a female’s shell is completely flat. The space around the cloaca and next to the hind legs is a little wider in females, in order to facilitate the evacuation of the eggs during the laying. The female’s shorter tail also offers a shorter path to lay her eggs. The supracaudal scale of female turtles, which is located above the tail, is more curved than that of male turtles.
Small female turtles may experience egg retention and are therefore unable to naturally lay their eggs. The intervention of a veterinarian is then necessary.
To observe the plastron you can direct the land turtle upwards for a few seconds. She should not stay in this position for long as her organs may be damaged.
Obtain a diagnosis from a veterinarian
An experienced veterinarian may be able to diagnose the sex of your turtle before it is sexually mature. A sample is taken by the veterinarian and is sent to a specific laboratory which performs DNA sexing.
This new technique is not yet offered by all veterinarians, and is generally reserved for birds. You can ask your nearest vet who knows if they practice this method. This type of analysis can sometimes be performed without the help of a veterinarian. You yourself then take the sample from your land turtle and send the sample to the laboratory. This technique is more common in Anglo-Saxon countries (dna turtle sexing).
Reproduction of a hermann tortoise
Adult turtles capable of reproduction must benefit from a rich and varied diet, be in excellent health and above all have acquired their sexual maturity. And if they live in a terrarium, the heat generated by the lamp must be sufficient.
The sexual maturity of the hermann tortoise
The sexual maturity of a Hermann tortoise depends on its sex, age, size and living conditions. A male Hermann tortoise reaches sexual maturity around its fifth year. That of the female is obtained around the tenth year. In captivity, this process can be anticipated if food and UVB intake have been sufficient.
Food for land turtles
The reproduction of male and female turtles is greatly stimulated by the presence of the sun and the quality of the food. The diet must be rich in calcium to allow proper development of the eggshells. Calcium is also very useful for young, still growing turtles.
To promote reproduction, the enclosure of your turtles should be as large as possible and take up a large space in your garden. Turtles must be able to feed freely within their enclosure. In terrariums, a heat lamp and a UVB lamp are essential to stimulate the breeding instinct of your turtles. The reproduction of turtles living in terrariums is also possible but requires a large terrarium.
Water is also essential. It must be regularly renewed to ensure that it does not present viruses and bacteria. In fact, it is not uncommon for turtles to urinate and defecate directly in the water.
The hibernation of a Hermann tortoise
Adult turtles must go through a hibernation phase throughout the winter, in order to regulate the hormonal cycle and allow reproduction.
The hibernation requires strict temperature conditions, between 5 and 10 ° C maximum. In captivity, land turtles hibernate in their enclosure or in a wooden crate. This crate is filled with dead leaves and is installed in a cellar. The leaves should not wet but dry, in order to avoid the formation of mold. Turtles that do not hibernate should be placed in a heated and lighted terrarium.
A female land turtle in poor health instinctively knows that she must preserve herself and not fertilize the sperm with her eggs, even if there has been reproduction. It is not uncommon for a female to retain sperm throughout hibernation, or even several years after mating.
In many countries around the world, the detention of a species of turtle such as the male or female testudo hermanni is subject to certain detention rules, regardless of the sex and age of the animal.
When purchasing, the seller asks for a detention authorization. This detention authorization is easily obtained online on the website of your prefecture. This authorization must therefore be carried out before purchase.
If you have more than six Testudo Hermanni turtles, you must request an authorization to open a hobby farm as well as a certificate of capacity. This regulation is specific to non-domestic animals. The breeding of companion animals such as cats or dogs, for example, is governed by other regulations. Rodents such as rabbits are considered pets but do not benefit from specific protection.