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Do Tell: Have You Assigned an Animal a Gender?

Hi, Mary . . . umm, I mean Terry. This Aldabra tortoise living at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo arrived in 1955 and, since then, keepers assumed he was a she. Since these reptiles' reproductive organs are not usually visible, it took more than 50 years 'til they've got her gender lined up right, so he's now known as Terry instead.

This confusing situation got me thinking: with pets like fish, lizards, small mammals, or even stray cats, sometimes people assume a pet is one gender only to find out later she's something else entirely — that is if they ever find out for sure. I know I'm not the only one with a salamander named Sam (that could have properly been a Samuel or a Samantha) — so share your stories of pets with gender-specific names and unknown (or noncorresponding) genders in the comments below.

Source: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Join The Conversation
French-Kiss French-Kiss 6 years
Oh i'm very surprised by the comments ! Here it's really important with cats, dogs, horses... But i guess it's because in french our language gives hum like a gender to the words. "A cat/un chat" is a masculin word, and the feminine word is used for something else quite sexual, so if our cat is not a male we still say "un chat" but precise, and so we do for the other animals. However, for my 1rst turtle, here "a turtle/une tortue" is feminine, and in books it's always called Caroline, so my mother assumed it was a female and called her Sha'Uri (like in Star Gate). But when we got another much bigger, my mother thaought it was a male and called him Daniel. Then we saw the little Sha'Uri trying to do Daniel, and we realized that they were both the other gender xD
TheEnchantedOne TheEnchantedOne 7 years
We adopted this tiny stray kitty and named "it" Matilda. What do you know, "it" now goes by the name Mattie. Sorry for thinking you were a girl for some time.
mudnessa mudnessa 7 years
I usually say he for most animals if I don't know, except cats because I've only ever had female cats. I have a tarantula named Mr Pink who then layed an egg sac so people get confused when we say her and Mr Pink in the same sentence. We had a little bunny and named it Greta and then oh what's that, it's a boy so it became Garbo. When I was a kid we found a turtle and named it Donatello and she is now known as Donna. With reptiles now we usually just name them and it just doesn't matter if it fits gender-wise.
wassy988 wassy988 7 years
I too am guilty of this. I make almost all of my animals without obvious sexes male. My hermit crabs, all four of them, are males. Clark, Franklin, Spike, and Green Shell (I was running out of names). We have a goldfish named Rocky. Only my girl dog Bella is a female. I'm sure that I have at least one female hermit crab, but I don't care to sex them. I like making them all males. :)
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Guilty! My cousins have this cute little fish with orange, pink and purple hues, and no one really knows if it's a girl or a boy, but it's just so pretty that we've decided she's a girl and her name is Zoe and she shall be our Zoe. :D
stellaRuby stellaRuby 7 years
All dogs are boys to my grandpa. I have three girls and on Easter they all had on cute little dresses, but he just kept calling them boys. They all have older names that were popular in the late 1800s early 1900s, so he would be familiar with them, but doesn't not seem to register with him.
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