The short answer? It doesn’t matter. There are only minor differences between the genders. You can fully choose by your liking without taking any risks.
The answer above might be surprising as females are often preferred in other species. But there is really no reason to reject a male African pygmy hedgehog. After reading this article you will know why. By the way, female hedgehogs are also known as sows and males as boars.
What you can find in both male and female hedgehogs
Male hedgehogs are as friendly as females. You usually won’t find more aggressive behavior in males. That said, your new friend will of course need some time to get used to you and his new home. After you’ve created a strong bond through regular playtime and activities, it is very unlikely that your hedgie will bite you.
The lifespan of females and males is relatively equal and depends mainly on care. Food, activities and regular checkups, have far more impact on the age of your pet than the gender.
How to differentiate a Male from a Female
Distinguishing a male from a female hedgehog is quite easy and you just need to have a look at the belly. If you can see something that looks like a button, you can be sure that the hedgehog you hold in your hands is a male.
The button you see is nothing else than a urogenital gap or a penile sheath. This sheath also contains the testicles which are not visible.
Female hedgehogs have five pairs of teats (mammae) and of course a vulva that lies relatively near to the after. If you’ve ever asked yourself this question: Females don’t have an obvious menstrual cycle.
Differences In Care
The penis of male hedgehogs is very low to the ground which can lead to health issues if you are not careful. If you choose a male you will have to take a cautious look at the bedding. It can get stuck in the penile sheath and cause irritations which can evolve into serious problems if getting overlooked. So you should opt for a soft bedding material without hard splinters.
Additionally, you should check on a daily basis if anything is stuck in the sheath. Most irritations disappear after a bath or with some time. If you think the problem gets worse or won’t heal without special treatment, don’t hesitate to take your little friend to the vet.
Can I House Hedgehogs Together?
Hedgehogs are solitary pets, most of them don’t want to have a roommate in their cage. Especially males shouldn’t be housed together after the time of weaning.
While females tend to get along with each other this isn’t a necessity. Hedgehogs don’t feel bored or get depressed when they are alone.
Males and females can live together but this should only be considered for breeding purposes.
It’s totally up to you which gender you choose. Male and female hedgehogs have the same temperament and they are both friendly pets. There are also no differences in lifespan or illnesses. That said you should definitely be aware of the costs of owning a hedgehog. I also recommend checking out where to buy a hedgehog before you actually get one.