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How to Sex Snakes - Can you Tell if Your Snake is a Male or Female

Sexing Snakes Takes a Bit of Experience

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Sometimes owners are curious if their snake is a male or female, but telling the difference is not a simple matter as male and female snakes look similar externally. However, with a bit of experience there are ways to tell, but these methods should be done by experienced keepers only. If you are a beginner and want to know the sex of your snake, please find an experienced keeper or vet to demonstrate for you, as the methods carry a risk of injury if done incorrectly.

Relevant Male Snake Anatomy
Male snakes have a pair of hemipenes (sex organs) that normally sit (inverted) inside the snake from the cloaca down along the tail on either side of the snake's midline.

Visual Clues
Since the sex organs are held internally, sexing visually is difficult, but there are visible clues. Because of the presence of the hemipenes, these visual clues relate to the shape and lenght of the tail:

  • Male: tail thicker and longer than in females, and also tapers less evenly to the tip (thicker for a bit then suddenly thinning).
  • Females: tail thinner and shorter than in males, and tapers smoothly, evenly and more quickly.
While the differences can be fairly notable when comparing snakes, it is more difficult if you don't have males and females side by side.

Probing
Probing a snake involves inserting a thin metal rod (probe) into the vent or cloaca. The probe can be inserted further in males due to the presence of the spaces in which the hemipenes sit. This method is best left to the pros because inserting the probe incorrectly can badly injure the snake.

Popping
In very young snakes, the hemipenes can often be visualized with a fairly simple maneuver called popping. It is recommended that you do not try this yourself either, though; if done incorrectly, the snake could be injured (or at best you might just get the sex wrong).

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