How to Determine the Sex of a Snake

by Jenn

Determining a snake’s sex can be a very tricky job as both males and females share a very similar appearance, and it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other. Moreover, their sex organs are hidden, which adds to the difficulty of sexing snakes. These difficulties should not stop you from finding out your snake’s sex as reptile sexing has many benefits, such as understanding your pet’s behavior and staying aware of health conditions they can suffer from.

To determine the sex of your snake, you can look for some physical attributes that can help you identify the sex of your snake. It may sometimes also require a veteran to determine the sex of a snake from its physical attributes depending upon the snake species as the nature of physical characteristics may vary from one species to another.

Usually, there are two main distinctive ways in which you can determine the sex of the snake. Snakes can be di-morphic, which means the male and female have a different body structure; they can be di-chromatic, which means that the two sexes can be different in color and pattern. While the latter seems like an easier way, determining the sex in terms of morphology can be difficult because some snakes do not reach maturity and their sex organs are not prominent. Methods such as probing and popping the snakes to determine the sex but these can be hazardous and even fatal. The most foolproof way is to do an ultrasound.

How to Determine the Sex of a Snake
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LENGTH OF TAIL

The males have a hemipenis which is a sex organ, and a long tail is required to contain it. That is the reason why in a lot of species, the males have a longer tail. It is one of the most common ways to differentiate between a male and a female because the females are smaller in size than males.

VARIATION IN SIZE

SEX ORGAN

However, that is not the case with every species, some females are smaller in size than the males, and their distinguishing characteristics are that they may have a larger sex organ than males due to enlargement of the ovaries.

BODY

In some species, such as the anaconda, the females tend to be 4.7 times larger than males.  The male snakes are sometimes bigger than the females because they have to contend with other males for dominance and mark their territory and secure their mate. In a lot of species, the males have a more muscular body while the females have a smaller one, in comparison.

SPURS:

There is also one specific part present in the snake’s body, which is called a “spur.” Spurs are the vestigial remnants of the hind legs which were reduced throughout the years due to evolution. These spurs tend to be smaller in a female as compared to males in some species.

The benefits of determining the sex of the snakes are numerous because the differences in males and females vary so drastically from one snake to another that determining the sex is restricted in every species and it takes experts years of study and research to come up with a definite method for this purpose.

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