We hear all the time about pet stores not being aware of what sex chin they have, or of other rescues even (not chinchilla specific, just like humane society-type) adopting out animals, and guessing at the sex... and saying that it's ok, because since it's a single, it doesn't matter what sex it is.
Which I suppose is true... as long as it stays a single it's entire life.
When we get chins in, here, it doesn't matter what sex someone tells me it is, I always do a double check. You tell me it's a standard grey male, ok, *lifts up tail* -- yes, it really is a male... or sometimes, nope, sorry, female.
I wanted to share a little story with you, that's kind of humorous (after the fact, but I would like to kick myself). In addition to the rescue, I show chins (suppose most of you know that), and if a female is not breeding, or loses weight, or for some other reason gives me reason to not breed her or not continue to breed her... she will not stay in breeding. So case in point, we have a pure standard run, the male's named Dom and is out of awesome lines, though a tad bit small, and the females are HUGE standards to compensate. Well, the one female in the run was named Christina, and the one day I opened up her cage door, and she looked awfully small to me. Jim was even here with me, and he even agreed. It was literally a, "why am I you breeding that?" type thing. Not necessarily because she was that tiny, but because Dom isn't overly large, and I remembered Christina as being quite the heifer. So, I pulled her out, put her in a holding cage, and marked on her card that if she didn't litter by February 28th, that meant she wasn't pregnant and that she could go to a pet home.
So, Feb. 28 came and went, and I noticed that hey, I could free up some room if I listed her and found her a home. So I wrote up an ad for her the other day, and today, went to go take her pictures. Well, someone was just telling me about how their chin was mis-sexed, so it was fresh in my mind, so I pulled her out of her holding cage, and thought, I'll check her. Considering I'm telling you this story, you can probably guess how this went -- nope! She was a MALE! Whoops. So, I went to the run she was in, checked all the females. Yep, all females. So... the chin that was IN the run, that had been, for the last FOUR months that I'd had this chin separated for pregnancy watch, had been visiting and cuddling with all the other females... I got that chin out... and the freaking chunker... THAT was Christina, and THAT was the blocky heifer Christina that I remember. Which means the chin that I separated for four months, that poor thing, was the awesome male, Dom. Oops.
So, what must have happened was this -- when I went to look in on "Christina," four months ago, the REAL Christina must have gotten her collar off and been in the run, while Dom must have been in Christina's cage. The collar must have been laying in the cage, which would have explained why it didn't seem odd that the chin in the cage (Dom) didn't have a collar on. So, thinking Dom was Christina, and a mighty small chin (considering I remember her plenty blocky and HUGE), I pulled him out and separated him.
No wonder I haven't had any babies out of that run for the last four months (and won't for another 111 days).
By the way, I should mention, Christina is probably a 900-1000 gram standard female, whereas Dom is more in the 600-700 range. Neither are small, but in comparison... if Christina dropped to 600-700, I would think something's wrong, and would pull her from breeding.
Well, at least that's straightened out now! Dom has his females back, and the real Christina is now chilling in a holding cage (as I'd replaced her with another female, and now need to figure out where to put her).