Box turtle sexing

Gbear

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Apr 21, 2016
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I rescued two desert box turtles recently and was told that one was male and the other one was a juvenile that you wouldn't be able to tell the sex yet. I believe the juvenile is an ornate box and the larger one is a desert box turtle based on what they look like. The juvenile has red eyes, a longer tail, a slight concave plastron (not anything distinguishable), and is more compressed than dome shaped. The older "Male" desert box turtle is more domed shaped, has grey eyes, short tail, and has a flat plastron. The smaller one has been chasing the larger one and today I saw him mount the larger turtle. I've read that some males will mount other males for superiority, but they're normally the larger males. They both we rescues that had been attacked in one way or another, so picking them up is very stressful for them and they try to bite the entire time. I used to have Florida box turtles when I was much younger and you could tell their sex very easily. So, now my question. Do you think that I have one male and one female or do you think they are two males who need to be separated?
 

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ColleenT

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it is difficult to tell. can you get a pic of the UNDERSIDE of each tail? That is generally how i can tell. I don't go by eye color, bc i have a male with brown eyes. Shell shape can also help, but overall, the underside of the tail helps me more.
 

Nanchantress

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Without more pics, I'm going to propose you have a male Terrapene ornata ornata and a female Terrapene ornata luteola. But the plastron view and underneath the tail view, as well as straight carapace length so we can judge how large and small they are would be very helpful as mentioned above.
 

Gbear

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Apr 21, 2016
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Thanks everyone! I will get those pictures of their underside tomorrow once I get home from work.
 

Gbear

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I won't be able to get the photos until tomorrow afternoon. If they do turn out to be, as many of you stated, male and female of different types of box turtle, should I separate them and stop them from trying to breed or will it be okay for them to breed?
 

ColleenT

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i personally would not. But it's up to you. i think it is difficult to find homes for mixes.
 

Gbear

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Apr 21, 2016
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I wasn't able to get the pictures because they are very shy. But, I did see that the smaller turtle has its cloacle opening further down it's longer tail and the larger turtle has a much smaller tail...
 

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