When was the last time you saw a hedgehog? Despite being one of our most iconic mammals, hedgehogs are declining by around 5% every year. Luckily, there is something you can do to help!
Providing a safe home for hedgehogs is just one of the ways you can help to encourage their numbers. Faced with habitat loss and other threats, these prickly little mammals are in dire need of safe places to hibernate during winter.
This is where you come in! Why not let your crafty side run wild by learning how to make a hedgehog house? It’s a fun activity the whole family will enjoy and is a great way to immerse children in nature.
By building your hedgehog house now, spiny garden visitors can grow accustomed to their new digs while they forage throughout spring and summer. Come autumn, they’ll be raring to move in!
What you’ll need
Your hedgehog house can be as simple or sophisticated as you like. If you want to try your hand at something similar to the homes you can buy in the shops. Here’s your shopping list.
- 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
- 25mm galvanised nails
- 1m length of hosepipe
- A jig saw, drill and hammer
- 25mm drill bit
How to make a hedgehog house
Once you have ticked off these items and enlisted some helping hands, work through the steps below.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attach your tunnel to this entrance hole, nailing it from the inside of the crate.
- Drill a hole that will fit the hosepipe into the back of the crate. The hosepipe will ventilate your hedgehog house and keep hogs feeling cosy.
- 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
Hedgehogs are fussy little creatures and are quite particular about where they live. To help ensure hedgehog house 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.
An ideal spot for your hedgehog house would be under thick vegetation or behind a shed. But wherever you decide to put your house, cover it with things like leaves and woody garden cuttings for extra shelter and security.
What if I see a hedgehog during the day?
Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid-March (depending on local conditions), but animals must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Making hedgehog homes in the garden and providing food will help hedgehogs immensely.
They may, however, wake up during this period and take the opportunity to eat, then go back into hibernation. But if a hedgehog is seen out in the day it usually means it’s in trouble. In this circumstance please contact your local hedgehog society for advice.