A Green turtle hatchling heads to sea in the northwest Hawaiian islands. In most species, gender is determined during fertilization. However, the sex of most turtles , alligators, and crocodiles is determined after fertilization. The temperature of the developing eggs is what decides whether the offspring will be male or female. This is called temperature-dependent sex determination, or TSD. Research shows that if a turtle's eggs incubate below
What causes a sea turtle to be born male or female?
How to Tell If a Turtle Is Male or Female | Turtle habitat, Turtle care, Pet turtle
There's a global pandemic happening on a scale that hasn't been seen in roughly a century. So we decided it would be the perfect time to talk about turtle sex. Not turtles having sex, which is undoubtedly an interesting geometry problem, but rather the process by which turtles develop as male or female. That process is interesting because it seems, at least from our XY chromosomal perspective, to be a bit haphazard: turtles and many other reptiles determine their sex based on ambient temperature. In elevated temperatures, most of the eggs will develop as female; at lower temperatures, most of the eggs will develop as males. We don't really know how they register the temperature and somehow translate it to a complex program of anatomical development.
How do you tell whether a turtle is male or female?
It is often difficult to determine the gender of a pet turtle, especially if you did not purchase it from a breeder that hatched them from controlled temperature environments. The temperature during egg incubation is what determines whether an embryo will become a male or female; cooler incubation temperatures produce males and females develop in warmer temperatures. Thankfully there are some types of turtles that make it easier than others to distinguish a male from a female without knowing their incubation temperature. Red-eared sliders , for example, demonstrate sexual dimorphism and have distinct differences in size and appearance between the sexes. For male red-eared sliders , sexual maturity is about the time they reach 4 inches in length and at about two to five years old.
When sea turtles are juveniles, it is very difficult to tell their sex by eye as they do not differ externally. However, after reaching sexual maturity male sea turtles develop a long tail , which houses the reproductive organ. The tail may extend past the hind flippers. Male sea turtles except leatherbacks have elongated, curved claws on their front flippers to help them grasp the female when mating.