Winter homes for wildlife: how you can help
In winter, wildlife needs to find places to shelter from the chilly weather. Here are some ideas to help creatures stay snug.
Hedgehogs like to hibernate in piles of dead leaves, stacks of logs and compost heaps, so it’s best not to tidy your garden too much as winter approaches. You could also build a hedgehog home. Remember to make sure there’s a 15cm gap somewhere in your fence so they can squeeze through and visit other gardens.
Birds like to shelter in holes in tree trunks or walls, and in evergreen plants, such as ivy and privet hedges, so if you have these in your garden, don’t chop them back too much. You could also hang up a bird box or some woven roosting pouches – you can buy inexpensive ones from online shops or garden centres.
Frogs and toads sometimes sleep in the mud at the bottom of their pond over winter, but they often prefer to shelter on dry land. Make a hiding place by digging a hole in the ground, about 10cm deep, and lining it with gravel, twigs and dry leaves. Then put a large, flat stone over the top – a piece of broken paving slab is perfect for this. Make sure you leave enough space for them to crawl in. If you can’t find a suitable stone, you could make a roof out of criss-crossed branches and cover it with moss, twigs and leaves.
Minibeasts love log piles too. Have a go at making one in a quiet corner of your garden. Just gather up some large sticks and small logs, then pile them up in a sheltered spot and wait for the minibeasts to move in. Simple!
Foxes and badgers live in holes in the ground, and squirrels live in their winter nests in the trees. They’ll be pleased to find somewhere cosy to rest while they’re out and about searching for food though, so why not make them a woodland winter shelter?
Has anyone moved into a winter home you’ve made? Tell us about it using #NatureDetectives.