Could you give a hedgehog a home? Gardens are an increasingly important habitat for these prickly characters, which are disappearing from the wider countryside.
You can make your garden hedgehog-friendly by ensuring they have a safe, sheltered spot to rest during the day and hibernate through the winter. Why not let your crafty side run wild and make your own hedgehog house? It’s a fun activity the whole family will enjoy and a great way to immerse children in nature.
What you’ll need
Your hedgehog house can be as simple or sophisticated as you like. Here's what you'll need if you want to try your hand at something similar to the homes you can buy in the shops:
A large wooden wine crate
One length of 15cm x 2cm untreated timber, which is 1.2m long. Make sure the wood is from a sustainable source
Once you have ticked off these items and enlisted some helping hands, work through the steps below:
1. Make the tunnel that will form the entrance of your hedgehog house. To do this, cut your sustainable timber into four separate lengths that are all 30cm long. Nail these together, lengthways, to form a tunnel.
2. Put down your tunnel and grab the wine crate. Using the jig saw, cut an entrance hole into one side of the crate, at the base. The hole should measure 11cm x 15cm.
3. Attach your tunnel to this entrance hole, nailing it from the inside of the crate.
4. Drill a hole that will fit the hosepipe into the back of the crate. Make the hole near the top, with the hose resting on the ground outside - that way air can get in but not rain. The hosepipe will ventilate your hedgehog house and keep hogs feeling cosy.
5. Finally, place the top back on the crate, but don’t nail it shut! You’ll need to take it off and tidy up the house every year or two. This is best done during October before hogs go into hibernation.
Where to put a hedgehog house
Where you choose to place your hedgehog house will have a big impact on whether it becomes occupied. To help ensure success, place your home somewhere:
Nice and quiet:
Out of direct sunlight;
Sheltered from the wind;
Free from obstructions to the entrance and ventilation pipe
Hedgehogs like to move alongside linear features, such as hedges and fences, so place your house in a corner of your garden if you can. An ideal spot would be under thick vegetation or behind a shed. Wherever you decide to put your house, cover it with things like leaves and woody garden cuttings for extra shelter and security.