June 24, 2022 by Umair Shahid
It is the right decision to keep your chinchilla in pair if you are a busy person. Sex determination in chinchillas is a fruitful topic to discuss if you want to breed them or even keep them as pets. The reproductive anatomy of male and female chinchillas is somewhat similar externally.
Whether you want to know the gender based on the anogenital distance or use more precise sexing techniques, distinguishing them apart demands the complete know-how of these pets. Without proper guidance, it is quite cumbersome to know if your chinchilla is a male or a female.
You can make a conclusion about the sex of your pets by looking at certain primary and secondary sexual characteristics along with anatomical differences. As a veterinarian, I have keen knowledge and expertise in sexing of chinchillas and will make you aware of how to determine a chinchilla’s sex.
How To Determine the Sex of Chinchillas?
Significance of Determining Sex in Chinchillas
Chinchillas are social cuties, and they have to stay in pairs just like other animals. It is not recommended to keep a chinchilla alone throughout his or her life. Not only does living in pairs provide them happiness but also, they’ll have a mate for playing and socializing.
If you’re planning to keep a pair but don’t want it to mate, you can consider getting two male chinchillas. On the contrary, if you want to breed them or have kits, you can adopt or buy male and female chinchillas.
Pet owners don’t necessarily have proper knowledge of determining gender. They mostly rely on physical characteristics and guesswork to tell you about the sex. It is important that you must know if the pet you’re bringing home is a male or a female.
Exotic animal experts don’t recommend male and female pairs if you’re a novice owner. Try getting your hands on two male or two female chinchillas so you may not end up seeing them mating and conceiving the chinchilla kits.
Sexual Dimorphism in Chinchillas
Sexual dimorphism refers to the presence of physical characteristics that differentiate male and female animals. Chinchillas can show a major sexual dimorphism, such as in the case of body size and the presence of visible genitalia.
You can observe these characteristics in both male and female chinchillas in terms of anatomy, size, personality & behavior. Looking at the anatomy and finding the gender is what we call sexing in animals.
Determination of Sex in Chinchillas
The most obvious anatomical sex difference is below the chinchilla’s tail. In that respect, you can hold him or her in your hands, and look at the ventral surface. If your chinchilla feels uncomfortable, you can lie him or her on a flat surface to get more genitalia visibility.
The space between the anal opening and the urethra can give you an easy and quick idea about the gender of your chinchilla. There is no excessive hair in this area and you can examine it pretty easily.
If you notice there is negligible to no visible space between the anus and urethra, the chinchilla you’re holding is most probably a female. On the contrary, if there is a significant space present, you are dealing with a male chinchilla.
Secondary Physical Characteristics
Finding the gender by absence or presence of a scrotum yield no importance because male chinchillas naturally don’t have a scrotum. Both male & female chinchillas have nipples just like other animals. If you happen to have a pair of opposite genders, determining the sex will be an easier task after a thorough comparison.
Size & Chinchilla’s Gender
You can also take an idea about the sex of chinchillas by taking size measurements on a kitchen weight scalar. Generally, the female chinchillas possess more weight gain than male chinchillas. This is due to pregnancies, more energy demand, and basal metabolic rate.
Male chinchillas will have a short stature and body length in contrast to females. But don’t rely solely on this information as the weight loss and gain can be due to other conditions and you may end up with the wrong sex determination.
Behavior & Personality
You’ll have an idea about the certain behavior patterns in animals if you house them such as dogs and cats. They mostly make use of urine spraying to mark their territories or during fight and flight responses.
Chinchillas are no different and do show urine spraying behavior. In this regard, female chinchillas are very active in spraying urine whereas males are less likely to show this habit.
If your chinchilla is frequently spraying urine in contrast to the other cage mate, your pet is likely to be a female. It is not compulsory that males don’t spray urine, but this happens very rarely and occasionally in males.
Sorting Out the Anatomical Confusions
There are chances that you might not be able to determine how much space is present between the anus and the urethral opening. This can be due to excessive hair or the penis might lay flat over the male belly.
To make it clear, exotic animal experts recommend you gently lift the penile skin of your beloved pet. Gentle pressing on the skin above the penis will lift it over the belly and give you a clear idea of male chinchillas.
If you notice no lifting of skin upward and no penile sheath, exposure chances are your pet is female. It can also be confirmed by the presence of a slit-like opening in the vaginal region.
Other Sex Determining Chinchilla Characteristics
Mating Season Behavior
According to zoologists, the mating seasons of chinchillas occur in different months in the southern and northern hemispheres. The northern hemisphere has a breeding season occurring from November to May & on the contrary, it is from May to November on the southern side.
Female chinchillas show considerable aggression toward the males when the breeding season starts to happen. They came in the heat for nearly two days in a month and show a more active territorial behavior.
If you see your chinchilla is fighting with the mate during these times of the month, that’s probably the female chinchilla. It is noteworthy that they only show such behavior towards the male chinchillas and not the other females of the herd.
Individual Size Comparison in Herd
Chinchillas are socially very active, and they tend to stay in herds with males and females living together. No matter if you are observing them in the wild or visiting a breeder, the chinchillas having more body weight are females.
In my opinion, there is a much not bigger difference in the sizes and you should rely on the more accurate ways to determine the sex of your chinchillas. Only implying the partial ways of determining gender may prove unfruitful.
How can I perform sexing in my chinchilla pair?
You can watch for anatomical differences such as the distance between the anal opening and the urethra to correctly determine the sex of the chinchilla. Otherwise, your best bet is to give a shot to a nearby veterinarian for correct sex determination.
Should I get chinchillas with similar gender or opposite ones?
If you have experience petting a male with a female chinchilla or have plans to breed them, consider getting a pair with the opposite gender. Otherwise, if you’re new to making chinchillas as your pets, consider getting similar sex chinchillas.
Are female chinchillas bigger & more aggressive than males?
Although chinchillas are quite docile animals, there are some variations in behavior depending upon gender. You’ll observe female chinchillas be more aggressive during breeding season towards males. They are always slightly larger than males and have more active behavior.
Most people get confused when they are unsure about whether their chinchilla is a boy or a girl. If you’re also unsure of this aspect, I recommend you follow the recommended guidelines.
I’ve explained all the possible ways to precisely determine the gender of chinchillas. However, you’re always advised to consult a veterinarian in case of any ambiguity. A qualified vet will do a complete examination of your chinchilla.
With that being said, you’ll not only be able to determine the sex but also know if your chinchilla is living a healthy life or not.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.