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sexing a slow worm

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Crunchie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 May 2006 at 6:17pm

Hullo all,

This is my first post onthis forum and I was hoping someone that has seen more slow worms than myself (can't be hard) could help me out.

I have two slow worms one of which I bought from a shop last summer (before anyone bites my head off the shop is mentioned in sslithsto's topic also on this section of the forum). The other I bought in 1998 from a local pet shop which had been captive bred in Germany - the petshop has since closed down.

I'm pretty sure my older one (Eirinn) is a female, she has a dark brown back with dorsal stripe with black flanks and belly she's also quite a bit chunkier than my newest one.

The one I bought last year (Harris) I was sure was female when I bought it but now I'm starting to wonder whether or not (s)he may be a male still in juvenile colouration. Since I believed her/him to be female I did not think it was a problem to keep her with my original female after a quarentine period but obviously I'm concerned now that after a recent shed she seems to have lightened in colour a bit. If she did turn out to be male would it bebest to seperate the two due to one being from Russia the other from Germany? 

Here are some photos to let people see...

Eirinn my definate female is a fantastic little character, overthe years she has become very tame and often takes food from fingers, begs for food and bites fingers when she doesn't get food (not too hard I might add). Slow worms really are fabulous little animals so as part of my introduction I'll add some of the funniest pictures I have of Eirinn as well...

This is the "beg"

This is the typical food beg

She's a bit nosey about things going on outside her viv

   



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Crunchie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crunchie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2006 at 12:27pm

No one has any idea?

Does anyone then know of another forum or someone I could email to get an answer?

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Dan Kane View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dan Kane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2006 at 1:08pm

Now i'm no expert on Slow Worms, but it looks to me like you've got 2 females, Harris still in juvenile colouration, but getting towards adult colours.

I don't know about seperating them, but maybe someone more experienced could help with that?

Female slow worms have a darker stripe down their backs, and males have blue spots on their throats, or are uniform in colouration.

Hope this helps

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2006 at 6:12am

 

Hi Crunchie

really why go and buy slowworms when you can get them from the wild in the UK from local gardens etc - anyway - to sex them I would say that if you gently pressed on the body near the cloaca and pushed towards the vent probably releasing poo eventually the hemipenises would expose themselves in a male. If none show up then they are females.

if you dont like the sound of that you can look at the shape of the tail just after the vent - you may be able to make out the hemipenal bulge like in snakes and viv lizards. picture of the exposed hemipenises (cant spell)

 

 

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crunchie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 6:26am
Unfortunately I lost his link from my favourites shortly after I posted this topic and never really got round to checking it again.

To answer your first question I have never seen a slow worm wild in the UK. I live in a busy concrete jungle in central Scotland with the nearest nature reserve being 3 miles away. If there are any slow worms in my area I've never seen them, nor do I know anyone who has.

I don't think I'd fancy doing as you describe to the slow worm in case I hurt it - thanks anyway. Her pattern hasn't changed much since I posted this so I assume she is indeed female. She'll take food from peoples fingers now though which is nice but is not quite as friendly as my other female who I've had for 9 years or so now.

Originally posted by herpetologic2 herpetologic2 wrote:

 

Hi Crunchie

really why go and buy slowworms when you can get them from the wild in the UK from local gardens etc - anyway - to sex them I would say that if you gently pressed on the body near the cloaca and pushed towards the vent probably releasing poo eventually the hemipenises would expose themselves in a male. If none show up then they are females.

if you dont like the sound of that you can look at the shape of the tail just after the vent - you may be able to make out the hemipenal bulge like in snakes and viv lizards. picture of the exposed hemipenises (cant spell)

 

 

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 8:31am

Jon,

I don't think I can believe what you just wrote!!!! Are you seriously encouraging somebody to "pop" a hemipenes when they are relative novices at handling of reptiles?

If I said to you to squeeze you cats n*ts would you? No, because as likely as not you'd get scratched! The same goes if someone told you to sex a black mamba by popping! Why then just because its a harmless slowie or evn a grassie must the poor creatures have to put up with it?

Yours miffed.

RV

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 11:51am

Hi Rob

Please dont insult me.......it is a captive animal which was bought from a shop and the person asked how to sex the animal - the sure fire way of doing this is how I suggest - colouration can provide a good clue to the animals sex but not always....... an alternative would be just to inspect the cloaca and the tail - a slight bump would suggest a hemi penis - plus the shape of the head etc etc

Glad to see you are not worried about the fact that shops are SELLING SLOWWORMS! to inexperienced keepers as you suggest

Lets hope the slowworms survive their captive experience eh?

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 12:48pm

I wonder why we have a policy regarding captive animals on the forums. Come on guys keep it reasonable.

Lets face it if any species will thrive in captivity it is the slow worm, never kept one? I have and released it 5 years later after my views changed. I'm not sure it is a good idea for a novice to 'pop' their pet but I have heard if you roast them over a spit they do the same, used to be a way of proving that snakes had 'legs' I once read.

It shouldn't be difficult to sex a mature slow worm, maybe it is best to keep them apart if you do not want them to breed until you are sure Crunchie.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 1:36pm

I give up.......

Slowworms will expose themselves through handling - though tame ones may not react.......but who gives a toss

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2007 at 1:52pm
LOL Jon, we should all just keep off the pet threads.  I've seen it too during capture, but surely this is a reaction to stress in such a situation? It's usually the ones that are thrashing like mad that will invert the hemipenes. (don't know how to spell it either)
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