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Should I get a male or female?

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by mues155, May 25, 2013.

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  1. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm sure this question has been asked before and I'm sure a great deal depends on the personality of the tortoise itself. But I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions on whether or not a male or female makes a better pet.
    I do not plan on getting another tortoise, it will be just the one.
    I'm capable of giving a female everything she needs as she can grow upwards of 9 inches.

    My biggest question is will a female lay eggs even without a male present? And if so there would be certain risk of egg binding. I would rather not have to worry about her safety. Does this happen often?

    If anyone thinks sex is a factor over a tortoises personality I would love to hear. I would like one with a personality, a little outgoing, curious, hails to the "food god" :) etc.

    Any input would be helpful. Thanks
  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    What age tort are you planning on getting? Those hatched in captivity can be 'incubated to be' male or female, but there are no guarantees.... and plenty that are mis-sold as the wrong gender by accident. Unless you buy a reasonably mature tort, you are taking pot luck... it's better that way in my opinion
  3. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm hoping to get a well started juvenile 4-5 inches or so.
    I'm too afraid to get a hatchling, I've heard so many horror stories of them passing away easily.
  4. james1974

    james1974 Member 5 Year Member

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    A male would be the better choice.At 4-5" inches most male's are fully grown or close to being, especially greeks and Russians.Both will have fat tails and the greeks will have a slight dip on the bottom of there shell.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using TortForum mobile app
  5. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    But what makes you say a male will make a better pet?
    Size is not the issue for me.
    More detail on why you say male would be helpful.
  6. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    At 4-5" it would be more than a "well started" juvenile. That is more of a young adult size. Males at about 4.5" will be sexually active and many females at 5" will begin egg production. The belief that baby Hermann's tortoises or any other Testudo species "passing away easily" is completely unfounded. They will survive just as well as an adult if properly cared for. That concern should be more with freshly imported wild caught tortoises not long term adults and captive born babies. Male Hermann's under good captive conditions can sometimes be slightly more active than females. Males are smaller (average 5.5-6.5") once full grown too. But some males can be frequently sexually "frustrated" once they reach maturity and will often aggressively court and attempt to breed with rocks, shoes, feet and whatever else they think might hold still long enough for them. Females are larger (average 6-8") when mature. They will can and will occasionally lay eggs even when not in the presence of a male. But in order to do they almost always have to be exposed to some level of seasonal changes as they would be in wild. This is not always true but random egg laying without a male present usually takes place much less often. Egg binding is rarely much of a concern, especially when a single female is being kept. There are a few factors that may cause egg binding. But in a healthy tortoise it usually happens when the tortoise is kept in crowded conditions, poor environmental conditions or with a male that simply will not let up with courtship and breeding attempts.
    I have several female and male adult Hermann's of all subspecies and I really do not agree that a male makes a better pet than female. If anything, because of the above male actions they make "less" of a good choice over a female. That might be a concern to some people. A female's biggest drawback might just the fact that they are going to be larger than the male. But the difference in size is so minor that it too really isn't a concern. If purchasing a very young tortoise there may not be a choice of gender, you get what you get. There is absolutely no way to guarantee the gender of a captive born baby tortoise. Many breeders incubate for either male or female. I personally incubate for females always. But doing so is not a guarantee that all offspring will be female. A small percentage are always male and the babies are impossible to determine the gender of until they are about 3" long. By purchasing an older, larger tortoise you can guarantee the gender that you'd like to have. The majority of those tortoises are usually wild caught or more recently "farm raised" (if one chooses to believe such a thing). Some people prefer not to support the practice of removing more animals from the wild and stick with purchasing captive borns.
  7. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    Wonderful response and very informative.
    My only concern with the female was future egg binding ever becoming an issue.

    I'm having a hard time finding a good breeder. I will never buy one from a company that refuses to show me individual photos of the animals they have for sale. Is it so complicated that I want to be able to pick out my pet tortoise that I'll have for a life long pet? And finding a US captive bred...man it's hard.

    I'm not in any hurry to get one but I hope to find a variety.
    I like hermann's the best (I was also considering a greek tortoise) but I've never had such a hard time finding an animal online without red flags in my mind going up.

    The only place to get a tortoise in my area is one petsmart and one local pet store, they both only ever get greeks, russians, and the occasional red foot. If I went with one of those options ( I would pick a greek) as much as I hate buying from pet stores at least I would get to see my tortoise in person and pick him out.
    I'm just frustrated at my experience finding one. I'll be patient and I'm sure I'll come across my perfect hermann's tort. :)
  8. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    It's very doubtful (but not impossible) that you would ever have a problem with egg binding. It is not really that common when you consider all the females tortoises of every species in captivity.

    Most dealers are not going to be willing to supply photos mainly because they would spend all of their time doing only that. They are typically dealing with several people on a constant, ongoing basis. Not all dealers are bad, there are good ones, but even they can't spend all their time sending photos to people. Many breeders are the same. When a breeder has 20, 30, 40 or more babies available it is difficult to supply individual photos. Photos of baby tortoises only show what that baby looks like at that moment. Babies look nothing like their adult parents. They will change in size, pattern and coloration as they grow. More importantly would be photos of the adults to know what you will be ending up with. Breeders don't always know which exact female laid a particular egg, unless they witnessed it happening. In some cases they may not know which male is the father either, depending in what type of group situation that they keep their adults.
    It is a bit early for babies of most Testudo species to be available right now. Many 2013 babies are not born yet. There are 2012 babies available and a very few 2013 babies that were nested and born indoors over the winter. Hermann's tortoises (as well as Russians and Northern Ibera Greeks) are seasonal breeders. They bromate through the winter, breed in the late spring, nest in the early summer and eggs hatch in late summer which is when the majority of babies are available. You should have no problem finding any then, they're for sale everywhere!
  9. james1974

    james1974 Member 5 Year Member

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    Re: RE: Should I get a male or female?

  10. Terry Allan Hall

    Terry Allan Hall Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I've had both and, personality-wise, either gender is equally fun, equally easy to care for, so if you're only getting one, get the liveliest one you can find...if possible, ask to see it being fed.

    One "+" for a male is that you can often find one at a somewhat lower price than a female, as breeders/hobbyist may want several females but only one male (and that one male wouldn't have it any other way!), so when a lot comes in, the females sell out fairly fast, but males are around longer.

    Check out this ad: http://market.kingsnake.com/detail.php?cat=152&de=991142
  11. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    Ugg I'm still undecided on which sex to get lol.

    I also have a question about building a table.
    Is it best to build the sides in glass or solid wood? I wanted to know if they would be bothered by not being able to see out, if they would be climbing the walls trying to get over this barrier they can't see through. Or if it doesn't really bother them.
  12. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Generally torts are more bothered by what they can see, but can't get to. See through walls are an issue. Solid walks are fine.
  13. mues155

    mues155 New Member 5 Year Member

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    Ok great because I have a friend that's getting rid of a parrot play stand they homemade, it literally looks like a tortoise table. They had PVC pipe for perches that they removed from the table after their parrot passed away.
    It's about 5ft x 3ft table built over a cabinet with all four sides being plexiglass at about 10 inches deep. I could easily cover the sides so that the tortoise won't be bothered by seeing out. I would think it would make a great habitat for my new addition. Obviously I will make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before setting it up.

    Hopefully by the beginning of July I will have everything setup and ready for the little guy or girl. This will give me time to think of more questions to ask and more time to learn and prepare for everything my tortoise will need.

    My super awesome dream is to just have my tortoise in his amazing habitat, be able to grow him lots of weeds, wild flowers and leafy greens in my garden. Watch him thrive and be happy for years and years.

    Joesmum I have to thank you the links you have in your signature are AMAZING!
    thetortoisetable.org is an insanely awesome website! That will come in handy for years to come. I haven't gone through the whole website yet but just wow!
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