How to Visually Sex Snakes

Common Garter Snake - Thamnophis sirtalis - (S...
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A snake’s gender can be hard to identify despite a close look to the animal. It also depends on what specie of snake you’re trying to identify. The sex organ of a snake is held internally which makes sexing through vision only a bit difficult. However, there are visible clues that could tell the gender of a snake. While probing is the surest way to sex most snakes, some species can be visually sexed with certainty. Probing is a difficult at the same time dangerous process and should only be carried out by experienced snake handlers.
The first thing to look at in trying to identify a snake’s gender is the snake’s tail. There is a significant difference in the size and structure of male and female snakes. Males have two hemipenes which are stored next to each other at the base of the tail. Hemipenis (plural hemipenes) is a bi-lobed reproductive organ in snakes and lizards. Each hemipenis is tucked into its own pocket. This makes the tail appear fatter for a longer distance and makes the overall length of the tail much longer.
On the other hand, a female’s tail narrows right from the base, making it almost ‘carrot’ shaped. It tapers smoothly and evenly which is contrast to the male which tapers less evenly to the tip. In general, a male snake has a longer and thicker tail. The shape and length varies from species to species.
The exact shape and length varies from species to species, but generally, the male has a longer tail.

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