You might have seen how enormous a male turtle’s penis is. If you haven’t, you can check it out on the internet. (Watch at your own risk!).
But do turtles have balls? If yes, how big are a turtle’s testicles?
Well, let me tell you because I have watched these videos. But, hey, do not judge me. It’s all for educational purposes. And for your information, I didn’t binge.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Do Turtles Have Balls?
Yes, turtles have balls and they are safely tucked inside their lower abdominal cavities, adjacent to the kidneys. Unlike humans, turtles do not have external scrotal sacs, which explains why we do not see their balls during their mating process.
Only when the turtle is dead and you perform an incision, you will be able to see the turtle’s balls.
Talking about the testicle’s size, they are tentatively the size of an egg yolk each.
Unlike humans, turtles aren’t indulged in sexual activity all year round. Their sexual parts only get stimulated during the mating season. And when this happens, the gonads get activated, synthesizing sperm formation in their body.
Both male and female turtles have gonads. Gonads are present as testicles in males and ovaries in females.
Gonads in male turtles produce sperm and testosterone, whereas it produces estrogen and progesterone in females.
How Big Is A Turtle’s Testicle?
A turtle’s testes’ size depends on the size of the turtle. For instance, for a terrapin turtle of length six inches, the testes will approximately be half an inch to an inch in size.
Here’s an image of a real turtle’s ball to give you a rough idea:
Turtle testicles’ size also depends on the size of the turtle’s penis they have and vice versa.
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The Function Of Balls In Turtles
Just like with every other animal that possesses testicles, the function of these balls remains the same in turtles – to produce and store sperm.
In addition to that, their testicles enlarge only during the breeding season. The function of balls in turtles is to produce and store sperm. Their testicles do not work like ours. They only enlarge during breeding seasons. Research done on several slider turtles indicates the month of August, September, and October are their preferred mating season.
And, they are put into maximum work when the turtles find their mating partner.
Without further ado, let’s discuss some general functions of a turtle’s balls (testicles).
Secretion Of Hormone
Turtles’ testicles are not only a reproductive organ but also a part of their endocrine glands. They help in the secretion of hormones like testosterone and minute amounts of estrogen and progesterone.
Apart from producing and storing sperm, gonads also produce testosterone hormones, responsible for giving characteristic male phenotype (expression of genotype).
For example, we differentiate a male turtle from a female by its prominently longer claws, concave shells, size, thicker and longer tail, etc. And in order to develop these characteristics, testosterone plays a pivotal role.
Similarly, characteristic female phenotype effects are seen in female turtles because of the functional analogs, estrogen, and progesterone.
Development Of Temperament
The secretion of testosterone can also be associated with aggression in turtles. This temperament is displayed by turtles when they mark their territory and fight off competitors during mating season.
Plays Lifelong Role In Determining Sexes
Unlike in other animals, the determination of sex in turtle hatchlings is unique. While most animals deploy genes to determine their sex, turtles, on the other hand, depend on the environmental milieu (social environment).
This means, during the embryo’s development process, the surrounding temperature of the nest will dictate the turtle’s gender.
Research showed that if a turtle’s eggs incubate below a critical temperature, the turtle hatchlings will be male. And, if the surrounding temperature is above the critical threshold temperature, the hatchlings will be female.
In the case of sea turtles, this critical temperature is around 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that the sexes are determined, the maintenance of these male characteristics is under the control of testosterone, which is produced by balls.
If you want to read up more on this interesting phenomenon, head over here.
Turtle Balls And Infertility
The correlation between a turtle’s testicles and infertility is yet to yield a definitive answer. However, impairment of testicles in animals does lead to infertility.
Defective turtle balls are unable to produce or have limited spermatozoa production. Moreover, they will be unable to transport or store the sperm.
Hence, it can be deduced that a defective pair of testicles can cause infertility in turtles.
Final Words On Do Turtles Have Balls
In a nutshell (no pun intended), turtles do have active balls, which carry out a diverse set of biological functions. From sperm production to marking their territory, turtle’s testicles have a say.