For the first time, inguinal palpation effectively detected calcified oviductal eggs in a tortoise species. Inguinal palpations for 36 Hermann's tortoises, from six samples during spring 1999 and spring 2000, were verified with X-ray radiography. Palpation results did not differ significantly from radiography results and did not differ between two independent observers. A logistic regression analysis indicated that palpation success depended on the presence of oviductal eggs, and not on observer, year (1999 or 2000) or tortoise age class (young adult or old adult). The probability of correctly classifying females as gravid or nongravid through palpation was 78.4%. Although inguinal palpation did not allow detection of all clutches, it is a simple, inexpensive and effective means to determine the breeding status of Hermann's tortoise populations.