Pet stores and animal shelters don’t always correctly identify the gender of small animals. Especially in the case of pet stores, where many small animals often live together in a small space, it’s possible to walk away with a mis-sexed or even pregnant pet without knowing it.
If you find out your new furry friend is the man you didn’t expect him to be, there are several steps you can take to ensure his health and safety along with that of his companion(s).
Learn to determine gender yourself
The best way to avoid gender mistakes in the first place is to learn how to determine it yourself. Once you know what kind of small pet you’re going to get, research how to properly sex that animal. Books and websites are good sources, as are small animal doctors, who can tell you what to look for when distinguishing between males and females.
If you do discover that your pet is the opposite gender from what you were told, getting panicked won’t help. Instead, arm yourself with information. The Internet is full of informative websites about small animals, such as GinueaLynx for guinea pigs. These sites can help you decide what to do about your mis-sexed pet, especially if he or she has been living with others you thought were the same gender.
Decide how to proceed
Chances are, even if your pet isn’t the gender you expected, you’ll want to keep him or her. If your pet has no companions, you don’t have to worry. But if your pet has been living with others, separate them immediately. Placing the mis-sexed pet in his or her own cage will prevent unwanted interactions until you decide what to do. You can have your pet spayed or neutered; or, if you don’t want to or can’t afford this, you may wish to give him to a friend.
Call a vet
If you want to proceed with a spay or neuter operation, find a small animal doctor in your area. Call his or her office and tell them your situation. Ask for a price quote for spaying or neutering your type of small pet. Be prepared for a high price tag, as these operations are more delicate in small animals than larger ones. Also inquire about getting your pet’s companion(s) checked out, just to make sure there isn’t an unexpected litter on the way.
Regardless of gender, small pets are endearing and fun to have around. Even if you get the opposite of the gender you were expecting, taking these steps can help ensure a healthy life for all your small pets.
If for some reason you decide that you can’t take care of your mis-sexed pet, be sure to find someone you trust to give him or her to. A loving home is essential for a long and happy life for your pet.