Regrettably, the number of hedgehogs in Britain has been in decline for over two decades. 2020 saw hedgehogs become classed as vulnerable to extinction for the first time, as large-scale agriculture replaces hedgerows and trees with crops.
This is combined with the use of pesticides killing off the hedgehog’s natural diet of slugs, worms and insects, an increase in road construction and a lack of wild gardens to further damage the hedgehog population.
Without a safe place to shelter and a reliable food source, hedgehogs are unable to hibernate through the colder months. Clearing out a space for a hedgehog house in your garden can provide a secure habitat where hedgehogs are able to sleep, nest and hibernate without the threat of predators.
And, while it’s possible to make hedgehog houses yourself, not everyone has the time or resources to do so.
Many of the best hedgehog houses have also been especially designed to be insulated throughout the winter, ventilated in the summer and are made with materials that are not always readily available in our local gardening centre or hardware store.
All of the hedgehog houses below should last numerous years due to weatherproofing and have helpful features such as removable roofs to make them easy to clean.
Want to encourage more wildlife? We’ve also rounded up the best bat boxes to help bats roost and hibernate in your garden.
How to choose the best hedgehog house
Choosing the right hedgehog house can be difficult as prices can vary considerably and wildlife homes can come in a range of shapes and sizes.
The materials from which the hedgehog houses are built can also differ. This can affect how sturdy the habitat will be, how resilient it is to adverse weather and how long it will last.
For example, brushwood hedgehog houses do tend to be cheaper than the solid wood options but are likely to degrade within three or four years. You will then need to spend more money on additional brushwood to patch up the hedgehog house.
These are some features to bear in mind:
- Size: If your hedgehog house is too small, it won’t be a suitable habitat for a hedgehog to build a nest for hibernation. You are also unlikely to attract more than a single hedgehog with a small home.
- Value for money: The prices of hedgehog houses can vary, with solid wood and Eco-Plate homes being more expensive than simple brushwood styles. However, solid wood and Eco-Plate last longer and are more sustainable in the long run.
- Durability: Good quality hedgehog houses are typically built from water or weatherproof materials such as Eco-Plate and should ensure your hedgehog house has longevity. Treat those built from solid wood with varnish to improve durability.
- Protection from predators: A narrow or tunnel-like entrance is essential to prevent predators such as foxes and badgers gaining access to the hedgehog house. Camouflaging the house with soil and leaves yourself can also help.
- Removable roof: A removable roof allows you easy access to clean the hedgehog house. They can also be useful if you are rehabilitating hedgehogs and need to keep a close eye on them. Overhanging or pitched roofs can also be beneficial because they protect against high rainfall.
Best hedgehog houses to buy for your garden
Adding a hedgehog house to your garden can be a great way of providing a safe habitat for hedgehogs to sleep, nest and hibernate.
Here is our selection of the best hedgehog houses on the market right now.
Eco-Plate Hedgehog House
Designed in collaboration with the Dutch Hedgehog Protection Society, the Egelstichting, this hedgehog house offers a removable lid, tunnel entrance and 60cm wide chamber. Made from Eco-Plate — an environmentally-friendly material made from recycled car seats – the house is also weather-resistant.
Ark Wildlife Royal Hedgehog House
Made using rot-proof Eco-Plate and FSC timber, Ark Wildlife’s Royal Hedgehog House is designed to keep hedgehogs safe throughout the seasons. In addition to an internal predator baffle and large bed chamber, it has a removable roof that allows you to check on its inhabitants and makes cleaning easier. The roof also overhangs to prevent water ingress from any rain and added ventilation should stop condensation forming.
Wildlife World Hogilo Hedgehog Home
Used by the Hedgehog Preservation Society, the Hogilo’s lid swivels to provide easy access for cleaning or monitoring any hedgehogs that may be sheltering. Constructed from plywood, the Wildlife World’s Hedgehog House is finished with recycled agricultural plastic. The battened feet keep the house raised to prevent rot.
Riverside Woodcraft Hedgehog House
Handmade in the UK, this hedgehog house features a narrow tunnel entrance, large chamber and a weatherproof lockable lid. The house itself is made from solid wood, which has been treated with an antifungal and antibacterial coating.
Deluxe Hedgehog House
With a narrow tunnel entrance, the Deluxe Hedgehog House should keep its inhabitants safe from larger predators. The removable panel at the back of the house allows for easy cleaning and all interior wood is left untreated.
Garden Life Hedgehog House
Along with a pitched, waterproof roof, the Garden Life Hedgehog House is built with wood that has been pre-treated with a hedgehog-safe varnish to protect it against the British weather. The internal chamber is concealed from the entrance. A Hedgehog Care Guide is included with advice on how best to care for your hedgehogs and keep them safe and happy.
When to put out a hedgehog house
April and October are the two best months to put out a hedgehog house. Either side of their hibernation season.
By April hedgehogs will be out of hibernation but are still to produce hoglets and October is before hibernation but when most litters have been weaned.
These are also good months to do any cleaning out and this should be done every year.
If there’s an unusually cold winter, the length of hibernation can be extended and you may need to wait a few weeks for temperatures to rise before putting out a new hedgehog house. This particularly applies to cleaning an already established house so as not to disturb hibernating inhabitants.
The hedgehog house should be put in the most secluded area of the garden – behind the shed works well – and covered in soil and leaves. Any location should be out of direct sunlight and out of wind and rain.
What to put in a hedgehog house
Hedgehogs will typically build their nests from materials that are nearby so ensuring there are plenty of leaves close to the hedgehog house is helpful. You may want to consider placing dry leaves, straw or hay inside the main chamber of the hedgehog house. This will give them a head start when it comes to building a nest.
While you may want to tempt hedgehogs into their new home with food, it’s not advised that you continue to do this. Hedgehogs don’t like to eat in the same place they sleep and food can also attract predators. Consider building a separate feeding station instead.
For more advice on how to make your garden a hedgehog haven, take a look at our guide on the ways to help hedgehogs.