Hedgehogs are small mammals covered in spines and make great pets. When I was choosing a hedgehog as our pet, I did consider a few things such as age, sex, and species. I also needed to know how to differentiate between a male hedgehog from a female hedgehog as, I might have ended taking the wrong pet hedgehog home.
So, what is a male hedgehog called? A male hedgehog is known as a boar. Male hedgehogs are solitary creatures and only seek out female hedgehogs when it is time to mate. Male hedgehogs do not take part in rearing their offspring because, after mating, they usually part ways with the female. The female hedgehog known as a sow has the sole responsibility of taking care of the hoglets. Boars can be aggressive, especially during mating season when more than one male hedgehog pursues one female hedgehog.
When I was with the breeder looking at hedgehogs, I wondered how people know the sex of their hedgehogs. It is easy to identify for other animals such as cats and dogs, but since hedgehogs are tiny and covered in spines, you need to know how to identify sex. Read on to find out how you can tell if a hedgehog is male or female, if male hedgehogs have balls, and which is nicer, a boy or girl hedgehog.
How Can You Tell If a Hedgehog Is Male or Female?
After taking a hedgehog home from the pet store, you might be thinking of cute names to give it. Therefore, you need to know the sex of your hedgehog, and here are some ways for you to know if your hedgehog is male or female.
The most accurate method of telling if a hedgehog is male or female is to look at its reproductive organs. Hedgehogs do not like strangers; therefore, it will be difficult for you to know its sex during the first weeks. Once the hedgehog trusts you, it will not ball up, and you can easily inspect its body.
If the hedgehog is a male, you will see its penile sheath halfway up its belly. The penile sheath looks like a sticking-out belly button. A female hedgehog has a vulva close to its anus. So, if you lift your hedgehog and look at its underside and you cannot see anything in the middle of the belly, it is a female.
However, you need to be careful if your hedgehog is still a baby or a sexually immature juvenile. Hedgehogs have a migrating penile sheath, and it usually starts close to the anus and can easily be mistaken for a female hedgehog. The penile sheath will start to move up the belly as the hedgehog grows older. Therefore, if you want to identify the sex of your hedgehog correctly, you should wait a few months when it is grown older.
There are a few other ways that people use to identify the sex of their hedgehogs, but they hardly give an accurate answer. You cannot use size to determine if your hedgehog is male or female. Sometimes, males can be bigger than females or vise versa.
You can also get the wrong answer if you use attitude to tell the sex of your hedgehog. Male and female hedgehogs have the same temperament; therefore, if you spot an aggressive hedgehog, it does not mean that it is a male.
When hedgehogs are mating, it seems like an easy way to tell if a hedgehog is male or female, but in reality, it is not. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active during the night, which means witnessing their amorous activities is difficult. The courtship dance can sometimes look like a dance, and you cannot see which one is the male hedgehog and which one is a female hedgehog.
Therefore, unless you stay up all night for days waiting for your hedgehogs to mate, you might not know their sex of your hedgehogs. Some people install a night camera to check on their hedgehogs’ activities, but that means you have to go through hours of footage before you can confirm if your hedgehog is male or female.
The color of your pet hedgehog does not determine its sex. There is a misconception that female hedgehogs tend to have a lighter color compared to male hedgehogs. Hedgehogs come in different colors, but gender does not affect the color of your hedgehog’s furs and spines. The color of your hedgehog can only tend you how old your pet is, and most young hedgehogs have white spines due to quilling.
Do Male Hedgehogs Have Balls?
It is important to understand the anatomy of your pet hedgehogs so that you can take good care of them. Hedgehogs are small animals, and it can be difficult to identify some of their organs.
Male hedgehogs have balls, but their testes are not external like most mammals. A hedgehog’s balls are inside their body, resting in a cavity area near the anus. You can spot a small swelling on the belly in some hedgehogs, while in others, you can only see the penile sheath.
Even if you cannot see the swelling does not mean the male hedgehog cannot produce sperm. Studies have shown that the hedgehog with the largest testes is likely to have a low sperm count than the male hedgehog with the smallest testes.
A male hedgehog will reach sexual maturity between 2 to 6 months. Some will reach maturity faster than others, and if you are keeping many hoglets in one cage, you need to separate the males from the females after one month. Some breeders have noted that there were cases of accidental pregnancies when they left the hoglets to stay together for more than two months. When taking care of your hedgehog, regularly inspect it to check for health issues affecting the male reproductive system, such as Myxoma (tumor) and urinary tract infections.
What Is a Female Hedgehog Called?
Hedgehogs are solitary animals; hence, antisocial. In the wild, they will come together during the breeding season and separate afterward. The female takes care of its hoglets alone until they become independent.
A female hedgehog is called a sow. Sows reach maturity around two years and can breed every year until they die. Their breeding season is between April and September. Hedgehogs do not have an estrous cycle.
In the wild, the male will woo the females by circling and puffing them around this time. In captivity, breeders place the male and female together for about five days, separate them, and then put them back together within ten days.
A responsive female will mate with the male during this period and conceive. Sows have a gestation period of 35-38 days and give birth to a litter comprising 3-4 or 5-6 newborns. The male and female hedgehog should not stay together after the birth of the hoglets as they may end up eating them.
Towards the end of gestation, the sow’s urine will have a more pungent odor. She may also lose appetite and start nesting in preparation for the hoglets. After birth, the sow will regain appetite to produce enough milk for its hoglets. You should also supply it with supplements and treats for good health. At about 4 to 6 weeks, the baby hedgehogs will become independent from their mother and live up to 7 years in captivity. Their high survival in captivity is due to a lack of predators and a controlled diet.
Are Boy or Girl Hedgehogs Nicer?
Many things can be affected by the sex of a pet, such as aggression, suitability to children, activeness, and friendliness. When choosing a pet hedgehog, you might be wondering which one will be nicer, the male hedgehog or the female hedgehog.
Both male and female hedgehogs are nice, and there is no difference in their temperament. Whether male or female, a hedgehog will become inquisitive and physically active once it gets used to your presence. The environment largely controls the temperament of your hedgehog, and a hedgehog will be aggressive if it is always harassed. If you take good care of your hedgehog, it will be nice to you regardless of gender.
If you decide to keep a male hedgehog, you need to clean its enclosure and use a soft substrate. The penile sheath of a male hedgehog usually hangs low, and, sometimes, dirt or substrate can get stuck in it. If your hedgehog has foreign objects stuck in its penile sheath, you need to remove them, and you can do it during bath time.
If you do not clean your hedgehog, the dirt can irritate or lead to a urinary tract infection. The same problem can occur with female hedgehogs. The irritation can cause your hedgehog to be in a bad mood which can be misinterpreted as aggression.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals but can learn to stay with others if you train them. If you want to keep many hedgehogs, you should consider maintaining females only. Female hedgehogs are likely to be fine living with other hedgehogs because they do not fight all the time to establish who is the most dominant.
Male hedgehogs rarely get along and will push and wrestle each other to establish a hierarchy. Female and male hedgehogs should also be kept separate unless you intend to breed them.
Hedgehogs also have different personalities; some hedgehogs are social, while others prefer to stay alone. You might choose a female hedgehog, thinking it will be social and active only to discover that it does not like interactions with humans and prefers to stay in its cage. It all down to luck, pick the hedgehog you like and hope it will be social and active when it gets used to your presence.
Knowing the sex of your hedgehog is important since it helps you know how to take care of it. The only method to 100% confirm that your hedgehog is either male or female is to look at its reproductive organs.
However, you should avoid checking the sex of your hedgehog when it is still a baby, and you can easily misidentify it. You should also inspect your hedgehog when it is active, do not do it during the day when it is supposed to be sleeping or when it is hibernating.
The anatomy of hedgehogs is quite different from other mammals. Most male mammals have descending testes that you can easily spot, such as cats and dogs. However, the testes of male hedgehogs are inside their bodies; therefore, at times, you can see a small swelling or nothing. All hedgehogs are nice, so if you want to keep one as a pet, there is no need to choose a male or female.
Hedgehogs are solitary pets and can live on their own in captivity without getting bored. These pets can be messy and keeping them requires high hygiene standards through regular cleaning of their enclosure to prevent stress. In the wild, the male and female hedgehog interact during breeding, after which the sow carries the pregnancy and raises the hoglets alone.