View Full Version : Genitals Hermaphrodite guinea pig?

12-05-14, 01:14 pm
So I'm pretty sure my guinea pig is a hermaphrodite. I've had her for 2 years so she's about 2.5. I used to work at a pet store so that's where I got her. We only sold girls so I knew she was a girl when I got her and never thought I would need to check to make sure. I'm going to school to be a vet tech right now and I'm currently taking a class about exotic animals which includes guinea pigs we can bring in our pets if we have the ones we are lecturing about. Yesterday was the guinea pig lectures of course I brought my guinea pig in. After we talked about how to sex a guinea pig which I already pretty much knew she picked up penny my guinea pig and showed her to everybody in the class and had them guess her sex to see if they could get it right. Everybody kept saying she was little boy and I was really confused because she's a girl the girl that was doing the lecture didn't show me her sex because I mean I already knew or she thought. So I said wait can I see because I thought she was a girl. When I said that she gave me a really weird look and looked down at penny to see if she could get the testes to come out and of course she couldn't. She said that she looks like a neutered male which I know isn't possible and she showed it to me. she definitely has a dot over the Y but she has no testes or anything and now we are pretty sure (the tech and I) that she is a hermaphrodite. Guinea pigs are sexually mature two and three months of age I got my guinea pig at about 6 months of age and she had been kept with other guinea pigs at the store and none of them ever got pregnant. Has anybody ever heard of this or had it happen to them?

Edit: sorry if this is confusing I used voice to text since I'm on my phone. I think I fixed all the mistakes now though

12-05-14, 01:21 pm
Mammals can't be hermaphrodites as far as I'm aware. It's possible for them to be intersex (somewhere between the two sexes, not both), but I think it's more likely that you have a boy or girl that looks a little ambiguous. If you can't make a penis pop out, it's not a boy. A dot over the Y isn't enough to say that she has a penis. And if she does have a penis, but you can't see any testes, they could just be small. Not all males have large, noticeable testes.

12-05-14, 01:34 pm
I'm not an expert in biology, but I believe hermaphrodite is just used to describe anything that has sex organs of "both" sexes. It's my understanding the word intersex is used mostly to describe humans and came about because hermaphrodite is stigmatized. However, I just know these terms from a social science perspective (particularly constructionist, so I would argue that neither sex truly exists... but that's a whole different thing).

But, looking at the direct question at hand... I have never seen a guinea pig like that before. However, it is possible for any animal of any species to have reproductive organs from "both" sexes. It's not common, but it's not uncommon.

12-05-14, 01:35 pm
Mammals absolutely CAN be hermaphrodites, up to and including humans. Google can give you a thorough education about that.

Your pig may be a male with abnormally small testes, or a female that the people at the pet store can't identify, or a hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodites are really rare, so I doubt that's the case.

But your pet store person doesn't give me warm fuzzies about what she knows about guinea pigs, because you can't get the testes to come out. They're either out, or they're non-existent. It's the penis that you want to extrude to determine whether or not your pig is a male, not the testes.

See www.cavyspirit.com/sexing.htm for more information, and if you're still confused, post pictures here and someone will help.

12-05-14, 01:38 pm
Many petstores claim to sell only one sex or the other but many times they are clueless on how to sex. You can post a picture of her genital area here and we can help you to sex her to be sure. You can also check here http://www.guinealynx.info/sexing_pups.html

12-05-14, 01:41 pm
The pet store I worked at "only" sold female rats, that didn't stop the supplier from occasionally sending a male. And it takes a pretty unobservant person to not notice a male rat. (Yes, I worked with a LOT of unobservant people!)

12-05-14, 02:10 pm
It wasn't a pet store that told me told me she might be a herm it was my vet tech teacher.
She could get tested and her whatever you want to call it was already extruded.
One reason I don't think she's a boy is becasue because she was sexual mature while she lived with other female pigs and no one got pregnant.
This is another reason why I don't think it was a mix up. We got "female" hamsters a couple times and the way we found that they weren't females was through hamsters getting pregnant.

I'm going to have my vet look at penny and find out for sure.

12-05-14, 02:26 pm
It wasn't a pet store that told me told me she might be a herm it was my vet tech teacher.
She could get tested and her whatever you want to call it was already extruded.
One reason I don't think she's a boy is becasue because she was sexual mature while she lived with other female pigs and no one got pregnant.
This is another reason why I don't think it was a mix up. We got "female" hamsters a couple times and the way we found that they weren't females was through hamsters getting pregnant.

I'm going to have my vet look at penny and find out for sure.

She could also just be a male with testicles that are far up in the abdomen. We had a horse that had testicles so far up in his abdomen the vet could not palpate them externally. We actually bought a once gelding that I "think" was actually a stallion that had the same problem. The vet could not see an incision mark.

12-05-14, 02:55 pm
Do you have a picture of her/his genital area so we can have a look and see what you mean?

12-05-14, 03:16 pm
I've only heard "hermaphrodite" used to refer to animals like worms with fully functional sets of both male and female genitalia. It's possible that people also use the term to refer to animals with some features of each, but I've never heard of or read about a mammal with fully functional sets of both.

12-05-14, 03:28 pm
I've never heard that they had to be fully functional. But there are men with penises and ovaries, and women with uteri and testicular tissue, and all stages in between.

HaileyMD said:

She could get tested and her whatever you want to call it was already extruded.

Let's call it a penis if that's what it is. There's nothing else to extrude.

12-05-14, 03:53 pm
I would like to see a photo of this guinea pig's genitals.

12-05-14, 04:41 pm
I would think an infertile male would be far far more likely than a hermaphrodite. It would just taking nonworking testes or cryptorchidism. Although frequently they can still breed this may be one of the cases where they can't. It wouldn't have to have ovaries or female parts.

stray hares
12-05-14, 05:52 pm
It's not uncommon for mammals to be intersex, I see it in humans all the time (and I like to extend the language I use to describe humans to our non-human counterparts, depending on what would be "atypical" for the species. So, snails I would say are hermaphrodites, mammals would be intersex). You'd be surprised how many people don't know they're intersex either, because there is a massive range and actually there are very specific definitions for "male" and "female" and variations in those definitions happen all the time. There can be "normal" genitals and then streak gonads present, people can have unexpected things going on with their chromosomes or at the molecular level, and then there's ambiguous genitalia. The limitations of dichotomous sex classification. ;) If your guinea pig has ambiguous genitalia, s/he is probably intersex. People have been classed as intersex for much milder variations from typical definitions of sex (e.g. a clitoris longer than a certain accepted length).

Sorry for the rambling, but I just wanted to get the message across than varying from typical definitions of male and female is not rare, it happens all the time. Biology has a lot of grey and doesn't do clear, defined boxes as much as we'd like it to. :) And you'd be surprised how clear and defined certain boxes have been made for medical purposes.

12-05-14, 07:01 pm
I think your definition is far to broad for how you are applying it to this case. The assumption seemed to be that the guinea pig had both male and female parts, true hermaphrodite, not just a variation on one set of sex characteristics. That seems far less likely than, as fits in your definition, it's just an odd male who is not presenting quite as usual and most likely infertile from it. You may see lots of such people for some reason but what are the actual odds of running in to it in a whole population and what are the odds of running in to it in all of guinea pig population? I don't mean the "oh you have a slightly larger part of that area than most". I mean both male and female sex organs of some type. It's extremely rare to see that. Even if you do guinea pig rescue or veterinary on a large level you *might* come across it once. Twice if you have odd luck. You see split penis in rabbits a moderate amount if you look at a lot of young bucks but that's not what was implied at the start of the thread. It's just a modified male with ambiguity of sex only for the first few months of it's life. I think this case is similar to that. There are only male parts but they aren't developed right.

12-05-14, 07:22 pm
Honestly I feel that it's impossible to determine whether this pig is or isn't potentially a hermaphrodite without some visual aid. It could technically be possible maybe but highly unlikely, it's pretty rare in general. If it does indeed appear that the pig might be then this will be an invaluable opportunity to gather further information. Maybe if a gender can't be established visually, some kind of scan could be taken to confirm whether the pig has multiple sex organs or not. Then perhaps we can further investigate how this affects the pigs health and life in general.

12-05-14, 07:37 pm
It could be the case of the testies being up in the abdomen i had a dog that had that take her to the vet because of this is the case theres and increase of testicular cancer not saying thats the case but i would deff take her to the vet.just to check

12-05-14, 08:46 pm
We've had a hermaphrodite guinea pig come through the rescue, Merlin looked/looks like a male from the outside. However when Merlin was de-sexed our vet discovered that he had tiny winy (like tiny pea sized) balls and in-fact some female parts. Because there was so much fat around his Balls, he still looks like an intact male.

We honestly thought that Merlin was a normal fertile male guinea pig, but once our vet got inside that was not the case! I was lucky enough that she took pictures and showed me what Merlin's insides were like - and showed me his balls compared to the male guinea pig who also got de-sexed that day, the size difference was astonishing!

12-05-14, 09:59 pm
...has no one picked up on the sexual maturity part? Guinea pigs sexually mature far before 2-3 months of age. It's 3 weeks for males, and 4 weeks for females. If that's what your vet tech is teaching you guys for the exotics course, I'm not sure if I have much faith in that particular vet tech when it comes to exotic animals, to be totally honest. I think if you posted a picture for us, the people on this form can help you figure out what gender your guinea pig is.
RodentCuddles - That is AMAZING! If you have that picture handy on the computer, I'd love to see!