A hedgehog house provides a safe habitat for hedgehogs to sleep, nest and hibernate, throughout the year. The basic design enables hedgehogs to enter and exit the box, but prevents larger mammals, such as cats, foxes and badgers from getting in. This keeps hedgehogs safe, meaning they always have a little bolthole in your garden when they need it.
How to make a hedgehog house
To make your hedgehog house you need an old box such as a wooden wine crate, wood to make a tunnel, and some dry leaves, hay or straw to fill the box to keep the hedgehogs nice and cosy. Put it in the quietest part of the garden and cover with leaves or logs to make it look as natural as possible.
You Will Need
- Wooden wine crate
- Untreated timber (15cm x 2cm, 1.2m length)
- Galvanised nails (25mm)
- Hosepipe (1m length)
- 25mm wood drill bit
Start by making the tunnel for the hedgehog house. Cut the timber into four 30cm lengths and nail them together lengthways.
Use a jig saw to cut an entrance hole 11cm x 15cm out of one side of the crate at the base.
Attach the tunnel to the crate by nailing it from the inside.
Drill a hole in the back of the crate and insert the hose, for ventilation.
Fill the crate with dry leaves, hay or straw and replace the lid. Hide the hedgehog house amongst soil and leaves, or bury it beneath logs, ensuring the entrance and air pipe are free of debris.
Kate Bradbury says
If you see a hedgehog out in winter, it’s probably too underweight to hibernate, and needs feeding. Leave food and water out every night until it’s no longer taken. Meat-based cat or dog food is best, ideally chicken or turkey flavor, in jelly rather than gravy. You can also buy hedgehog biscuits – cat or kitten biscuits make an excellent alternative. If you see a hedgehog out during the day then it’s vital you act quickly. Take it inside, pop it in a tall-sided box, cover it with a blanket and keep it warm. Call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 for further advice.
Ways to make your garden hedgehog-friendly
- Don’t use pesticides or slug pellets
- Leave small holes in fences and walls to allow hedgehogs to move between gardens
- Ensure ponds have escape ramps made from stones or chicken wire
- Avoid using netting over ponds, which can entangle hedgehogs
- Check swimming pools regularly and leave polystyrene floats to help save trapped hedgehogs
- Don’t use creosoted or tanalised wood when creating hedgehog houses
- Keep drain holes covered
- Instead of a bonfire use an incinerator, or move the pile to be burnt to the bonfire just before lighting