Anal scute convergence and gender

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GeoTerraTestudo

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Kristina said:
Both are WC. The female looks more like she suffered an injury rather than had nutrition issues, or was born with a slight defect. I have one tortoise that is slightly "out of round" and one that has a rear foot that doesn't face quite the direction it should. Either way it was a long time ago.

The rough texture of the vertabral scutes and the thickness of the growth lines are what tell me this. In the wild Russians grow in short, fast spurts, as their growing period is only about 3 months of the year. The female also appears to be older than the male. What is her SCL?

Both also appear to be Testudo horsfieldii kazachstanica. That is the BIGGEST indicator that the pet store probably lied. I have 4 T.h.k. myself, but I purchased them all at the same time from the same importer. I am 99.9% sure yours came in on the same shipment together.

Wow, thank you for that information. To answer your question about their size, as of 5/22/2011:

Male:
SCL = 10.4 cm (4.1 in)
Mass = 360g (0.8 lbs)

Female:
SCL = 9.5 cm (3.7 in)
Mass = 325 (0.7 lbs)

That's awesome that you could identify them to subspecies. When you get the chance, could you explain how to distinguish among the three different subspecies of Russian tortoise?
 

dmmj

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there is a thread on the forum from egyptiandan about the different subspecies.
 

Kristina

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Yup, those are the two sources that I use to identify ssp. ;) On the link you posted, take a good look at the pic at the top of the page. That is a CB and raised Russian. See the difference in the condition of the shell?
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Kristina said:
Yup, those are the two sources that I use to identify ssp. ;) On the link you posted, take a good look at the pic at the top of the page. That is a CB and raised Russian. See the difference in the condition of the shell?

Yep, I can see the difference between a WC and a CB shell, as well as the difference among the three subspecies. Great stuff. Thanks again!

I was afraid that the person at the pet store was either wrong or just plain lying. I had hoped that Mork and Mindy were at least LTC and given to the store by some local person, but judging by the healing shell rot on their plastra, they do indeed appear to be WC. I know there has been discussion here on TFO of the pros and cons of rescuing a pet store animal vs. encouraging the capture and trade of wild animals. As I've said, my redfoot was a CB tortoise that I had bought from someone I knew personally, so I am disappointed that I have encouraged the sale of WC tortoises when I bought my two Russian tortoises, or rather, two Kazakh tortoises. ;)

However, the reason I bought Mork and Mindy was that they (and their inmate) were the first healthy Russian tortoises I had seen in a very long time. Since I didn't want to buy CB tortoises that would be shipped to me from far away, I thought it would be better to buy them locally. Sadly, it turns out that they were actually shipped here from the other side of the world. :(

Nevertheless, Mork and Mindy are a great couple of tortoises, and I'm glad I have them now. :)
 

Kristina

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I hate purchasing WC for exactly the same reasons. I justified my purchase, however, by the fact that I fully intend to breed CB tortoises from all the of the WC ones I purchased. All of my Hingebacks are WC, my Russians as well, but the rest of my torts are CB. I also have two WC Box turtles and a Stinkpot.

You have to start somewhere ;)
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Kristina said:
I hate purchasing WC for exactly the same reasons. I justified my purchase, however, by the fact that I fully intend to breed CB tortoises from all the of the WC ones I purchased. All of my Hingebacks are WC, my Russians as well, but the rest of my torts are CB. I also have two WC Box turtles and a Stinkpot.

You have to start somewhere ;)

Yep, exactly. I love breeding animals (I used to breed fish), and I have been wanting to breed tortoises for years now. We don't have a backyard yet, but hopefully by the time we do, Mork and Mindy will be ready to breed and we will be happy to help them do so.

I also justified our purchase of Mork and Mindy because the conditions the pet store had them in were not that great. I was delighted beyond words at how healthy they were, but I knew they wouldn't remain that way for long if they stayed there. So, we brought them home, and we're very glad we did. :)

PS - Any tortoise tough enough to survive shipment from the wild deserves the chance to pass on its genes!
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Someone wrote in a related thread I recently read here that conspecific tortoises from different subspecies will breed but may have reduced fertility. Is that true? If I want to breed my two T. horsfieldi kazakhstanica with other tortoises in the future (which I do), then does that mean I should make sure those other tortoises are T. horsfieldi kazakhstanica as well?
 

Kristina

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As far as I a, aware, yes, this is true. It is best to stick to ssp. which is one reason I haven't added more to my group, I can't find a seller willing to send me the shots I need to make sure I am getting the right ssp. (grrrr)
 

Yvonne G

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Well, they ARE long term captives. You can tell by the growth lines that they have been in captivity for a very long time...probably longer in captivity than they lived as wild tortoises.
 
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