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Are Female Red Foot Tortoises Bigger Than Males?

By Beau Harmon

Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Red-footed tortoises (Chelonoidis carbonaria), like most tortoises, exhibit minor sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism is a sex-based disparity in size, shape, color or any non-genital physical characteristic in an organism, and is common to some degree in many animals.

Males Are Larger

Sexual dimorphism in red-footed tortoises is expressed in the male being larger than the female. A male red foot tortoise can get up to 16 inches and weigh more than 20 pounds, while a female will usually be a little shorter and lighter, but not any narrower than a male. More distinct expressions of sexual dimorphism in the red foot tortoise are in its shape. The tortoise features a mid-carapace constriction that is much more defined in the male. This, combined with the male's longer carapace and longer, wider tail, gives the male red-footed tortoise a much more distinct hourglass shape.

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