Both male and female guinea pigs will make good pets. They all have their advantages and downsides. For example, males can be a bit more aggressive than females. Therefore, your preferences will determine the last choice.
Having a guinea pig is an interesting journey but how do you choose the right guinea pig? What is the right gender to consider when rearing these furry pets?
We all have different gender preferences. You might want to incorporate your preference when choosing a pet but you will need to consider several factors. In this article, you get the right insights to help you make a choice when adopting a guinea pig.
Variations Between Sows and Boars
Before settling on your preferred cavy, you will need to learn to identify it. If you have not interacted with guinea pigs before, it might be difficult to identify the two genders.
So, how will you differentiate these two genders? The size, physical appearance, and weight form the three basic differences whereas the genital area is a distinct difference.
The size will generally involve the physical appearance that you can observe. Generally, male guinea pigs(boars)will have a bulky statue; they tend to be larger and longer in size.
On the other hand, females(sows) are a little smaller and shorter. However, the size may vary depending on the breed of the guinea pig.
The physical appearance
At times, people will use the teats and nipples to differentiate boars and sows. Sows can appear to have large teats and nipples than boars but this might not always be the case.
Weight will rely on the measure of how heavy they are. Boars will tend to be heavier than sows but this can vary depending on the care and feeding given to the guinea pigs.
The above differences will not make good choices since they can vary depending on various factors.
The genital areas
The genital areas of a female and male guinea pig are precise hence make a good choice when determining the gender. Consider the following:
- The males will have a large space between the reproductive organ and the excretory organ (two to three inches) while the sow will have little or no space.
- The female genitals will resemble the letter “Y”.
For immature boars, the easiest way to determine the gender is by checking the appearance of the genitals since the testicles are not visible then. They will have a bump that looks like a straight or inverted “i”. The genitals will resemble a circle too and when mature, the testicles can be easily seen.
When you have more than one guinea pig, it is important to establish their gender early to avoid unplanned breeding. This is because the females will mature sexually at two months and the males will take two to three months.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Guinea Pigs
The gender of a guinea pig will affect some of its characteristics, care, and maintenance. Now that you know how to identify the different cavy genders, how will you determine your choice?
Male guinea pigs are confident, socially interactive, and easy to approach. Therefore, this makes them easy to relate to and handle.
On the other hand, sows are very shy hence require more time to get used to new owners. Additionally, they need more human interaction thus you need to spend more time with them.
Sows are calm but boars will be aggressive. Male guinea pigs use aggressiveness to establish dominance among their fellow mates. However, this may not always be the case as aggressiveness may vary depending on the cavy’s breed.
Boars are more energetic and they tend to be busier and active than the female cavies.
The boars will make more noise compared to sows. This happens as they play around. To add to that, male cavies will use sounds as a way of defining their territories.
Male cavies have a longer lifespan than females but the life expectancy will also depend on how your care for your piggie. Moreover, both males and females are prone to specific health conditions and diseases at old age. For example, nephrosis and tumors.
Male piggies will require more space than females. These furry pets are very active hence they need a lot of space to exercise their activities.
Contrarily, female guinea pigs will need just adequate space as they are naturally calm. Also, they get along well with others thus can survive in shared spaces.
Care and maintenance
Caring for boars comes with a lot of responsibilities since they are very messy. You will find your male cavy throwing around its toys and food items.
The male guinea pigs can become smelly if not well taken care of. They possess the perineal gland (commonly called scent gland) around the tail which produces oil called sebum. Sebum is used to mark territory in that the more dominant animals will produce more of it.
At times, the oil might build up making the guinea pig or even the cage smelly. However, this can be controlled through:
- Cleaning the scent gland and the cage often.
- Using odor control bedding in the cage.
- Washing your pet with shampoo.
- Removing the sebum before it piles up.
Which Set of Cavies Make Great Combinations?
Male Guinea Pigs
Male piggies are a good combination when young but will start fighting as they approach maturity in their pursuit for dominance. Although the fights might reduce once the territories are established, these pets are not an ideal group.
To avoid unnecessary fights, ensure the cage is spacious enough and each piggie has its supplies. For example, toys, water bottles, food bowls, hideouts, etc.
Sows will get along well hence can be kept together without any problems arising.
A group of males and females
A group with both genders will work just fine. However, do not keep two boars with one sow as they will end up fighting for it.
Can you Desex Your Cavies?
Yes, both male and female guinea pigs can be desexed. Although it has its benefits, it is not highly recommended unless when necessary since it poses risks for your pet.
Is it better to have 2 male or 2 female guinea pigs?
Two females will generally get along better than two males, but if you have a neutered male, then you can keep him with a female guinea pig.
All guinea pig genders will make nice pets. Choosing the right pet will all depend on your liking as they all come with their own set of characteristics.