Going Turtling! Weeks 3 & 4: Male or Female?

Weeks 3 and 4 were numerically average in terms of turtle captures. We caught 6 turtles in total on week 3, and 10 on week 4. The ratios of Male to Female were 1:5 and 9:1 respectfully. In terms of by-catch, we caught several crabs both weeks and no fish. However, we did catch 1 crab mating pair in the pot! We also noticed that after rough days/nights on the water, there were very few/no turtles in our pots. We believe that this is due to the turtles taking refuge during storms rather than swimming around, being out hunting or searching for mates. Overall, the third and fourth weeks of the study were fairly uneventful.

Since there was little to report for our findings on these weeks, I thought I would give some more information on sex differentiation of terrapins. This method works on many other turtle species, and is similar to the method used to determine sex on many reptiles.

Terrapin Sex Pic

Sexing reptiles is fairly simple once you get used to it (I say knowing I’m terrible, I had to have my partner check most of mine once I sexed them). This picture is from a reptile blog. The terrapin on the left is a male, and the one on the right is a female. In most reptiles, especially turtles, the males have thicker, longer tails, and the females have shorter, thinner tails.

Of course in terrapins, sometimes you can tell by size, as females grow much larger than males once they reach maturity. Another method of helping to guess sex in immature terrapins is coloration. Males tend to be darker and females tend to have lighter skin and have bolder patterns. We actually found one female that was so light it was almost white. Of course, this method won’t work for most turtles as terrapins have very distinct colors and patterns. Even the bottoms of their shells have a sunset of colors!

Here is a link to the turtle blog for those that are interested:

It’s a boy! It’s a girl!

Total Turtle Count: 36