Sexing a blue tongue?

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phaemas
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Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby phaemas » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:27 pm

How do I sex my blue tongue. The people we got him from said he was a male eastern but it turns out he's and Irian Jaya so i'm starting to question if he's even male.
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Postby Alioop » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:41 pm

Please make sure that you have read the caresheet all the way through. If you have any questions after that, it is very easy to search the forum for old threads. If you still have questions that cannot be answered by the caresheet or from reading old posts, then please feel free to post a question. However in this case there have been many sexing discussions going on pretty frequently. In fact, if you look at the general discussion forum, you will see a sexing thread almost right next to this topic. You are absolutely welcome to ask questions here, thats what this forum is dedicated to! But please do your research first.
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Re: Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby James Wilson » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:46 pm

phaemas wrote:How do I sex my blue tongue. The people we got him from said he was a male eastern but it turns out he's and Irian Jaya so i'm starting to question if he's even male.


Sexing Blue-tongued Skinks is easier said than done, as blue-tongues are generally not sexually dimorphic, and are quite difficult to sex for most hobbyists. There are many ideas on how to accurately sex blue-tongues, with most of them being only semi-accurate at best. Very often, it is necessary to employ more than one of the following methods to accurately determine the sex of a Blue-tongued Skink.

Eye Color
There is literature that suggests that some male Blue-tongued Skinks have red irises, especially during the breeding season, with the females having a brownish-yellow iris. While this has proven to be true for some male specimens of T. scincoides, I have seen just as many, if not more, proven males with normal brown irises. I have also seen this trait in Indonesian Blue-tongued Skinks (Tiliqua gigas), on a few occasions. Two of my male T. g. evanescens specimens have red eyes, but I also have a large proven female T. g gigas that also displays the trait. I have also seen this trait in one of my female T. nigrolutea specimens. Eye color can sometimes be used, in conjunction with other observations, to determine the sex of a blue-tongue. However, I do feel safe in saying that iris color alone is not a reliable method for determining the sex of a Blue-tongued Skink.

Hemipenile Swelling
Many males have hemipenile swelling at the base of the tail. A cross section of the base of the tail would appear slightly triangular in shape, while a female's tail would be more or less round. This hemipenile swelling is usually more obvious during the breeding season. However, this is still not an easy thing to notice, and it is not always consistent.

Body Structure
One common method that hobbyists have used for years is to compare Head and body sizes. Males generally have slightly larger broader heads in comparison to their more narrow bodies, while females have slighter more narrow heads and heavier bodies. While this method has been used to some degree of success with the different scincoides subspecies, it is totally unreliable with the Indonesian Blue-tongue (Tiliqua gigas). One gigas in my collection was a sure female. She was a small 12 year wild caught captive with a very narrow head and plump body. Much to my surprise, she turned out to be a he. I also have a huge 24 inch 10 year wild caught captive gigas with a huge head and jowls, and buldging red eyes. I was convinced that he was a male until “he” was bred by one another male right before my eyes proving it to be a female. It has become obvious to me that this method does not always accurately indicate the sex of a given skink (especially gigas), and it is better when used in conjunction with other methods.

Hemipenile Eversion
Some people are able to manually evert the hemipenes of a male Blue-tongued Skink. Injury to the skinks reproductive organs can occur when it is done improperly, and it is a task that is best left to experienced individuals. It is also not totally reliable in that failure to evert does not always mean that the skink in question is a female since some males are able to resist eversion of their hemipenes, although many males are much more willing to cooperate with this procedure during the breeding season. For these reasons, I choose to use other methods to determine the sex of my skinks. Many male skinks will evert their hemipenes on their own just before they defecate. Some skinks such as the Tanimbar Island Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera), or the Indonesian Blue tongue (Tiliqua gigas) do not generally appreciate handling, and males will often evert their henipenes right before they defecate and/or urinate on you. If you are fortunate enough to witness this pleasant surprise, you will have determined the sex of your skink.

Breeding Behaviour
Aside from actual copulation, there are many subtle differences in social interactions worth mentioning. My skinks are kept separately, and introductions are done during the breeding season. After being placed in the presence of a male, almost all females will wriggle their tail in, what I believe to be an attempt to distract the male's attention, thus providing an opportunity for escape. As of yet, I have not seen any of my males display this behaviour. When males are confronted with other males, they will both freeze for a moment after which they both simultaneously explode with aggression directed at each other. It is critical to break these fights up immediately in order to prevent any injury to the skinks.

Seminal Plugs
The presence of, or lack of, seminal plugs has proven to be one of the most reliable indicators that I have used in determining the sex of my Blue-tongued Skinks. Most Hobbyists overlook this dead-give-away because they keep their skinks on dirt, bark, gravel, or aspen bedding. The seminal plugs simply get lost in the substrate, never to be discovered by the skink's owner. I have found that when I keep my skinks on artificial turf, at least during brumation and the breeding season, the males will "drop" seminal plugs on a daily basis. These plugs are small (about the size of a bb) clearish-white slimy little blobs with tails that give them a total length of about 1-inch. They resemble small tadpoles, and are usually found in pairs. They are quite obvious on the turf, but will dry up by the end of the day, turning a yellow-brown color and withering into thin brittle twigs. At this point they are very easy to mistake for a small piece of aspen bedding or a dried up piece of cut grass. Some people confuse seminal plugs with the urates that skinks produce along with their feces. Urates are the white chalky portion of a skinks waste matter. During brumation they are produced in the absence of fecal matter, due to the fact that the skink has not taken in any food, but was still given access to water. This can be misleading, and it is important to know exactly what you are observing. Remember that urates are chalky, and they will crumble up quite easily in your fingers, while seminal plugs come in pairs and look like very small albino tadpoles.

Probing
While probing has proven to be an effective method for sexing many snakes, it is totally inconclusive and inconsistent with Blue-tongued Skinks. It is also not recommended due to the risk of damage to the skink's reproductive organs. Many Blue-tongued Skinks are inadvertently sterilized during this unnecessary procedure. So please, do not attempt to probe your Blue-tongued Skinks, it offers nothing to gain, and a lot to loose.
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Re: Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby Rigby » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:09 pm

Hi im new here! I have had my Irian Jaya for two years now, and am considering purchasing a mate, my gut instinct tells me male, so i always refer to Rigby (My skink) as a male! I actually have no idea the gender! I have examined the cloaca and what looks like the tips of sperm plugs emerge! But im still not certain! Ive included some pictures in hopes that someone could help me out? :) the pics dont show it well but it seems that his cloaca area has two slight bumps, and is more square than rounded? Maybe the hemipenes?
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Re: Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:20 am

I can't help you with gender, but your skink appears to be Halmahera, not IJ.
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Re: Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby mb606587 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:13 pm

Nearly impossible to accurately determine gender by visually examining. If somebody held a gun to my head and said pick, I'd say male but doesn't mean I'm right. Look for sperm plugs around breeding season to be sure, although an absence of them doesn't confirm you have a female either. Splashy is correct. That's a Halmahera. 100% without a doubt not an Irian Jaya.

*For future reference, rather than reviving an older thread of 8+ years, just create a new one. Remember information changes rapidly. We don't want advice, possibly from decades ago, that may not be relevant anymore, being brought back to the forefront if that makes any sense. Not saying that the information in this thread is outdated.
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Re: Sexing a blue tongue?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:24 pm

Agree with mb, Halmaheras are darn near impossible to determine gender. I'd guess male too but.... A few years back I kept them was certain I had a pair. When I got into the Australian species I gave them to a herpetologist friend of mine. He said I had two males! AND they were living together for a while, with absolutely no aggression towards one another. From what I have learned over the years they're very difficult to breed.

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