In the last post we looked at attracting hedgehogs to your garden so now we need to know how to make a hedgehog house.
Hedgehogs will only stay around your garden if they find a warm secure place to hibernate over the winter months and a good supply of food and water on warm days.
Whether you live on a farm or in a city you can easily build a hedgehog house, which takes little room in your garden and can provide a safe environment for our prickly neighbours to spend the winter.
Don’t get disheartend if you don’t get a hedgehog immediately, most will have now chosen what they think is a safe snug place for this winter but the younger ones born this year may not have, so lets give those litle chaps a helping hand.
You can buy ready made hedgehog houses starting from around £20 but if you’re a regular reader of this blog you will know I’m a bit of a womble (I think my first book will be titled 101 uses for bailer twine), so here’s how to make your own hedgehog house.
There are various methods to building a hedgehog house but this is how we do it.
Some important issues to bear in mind before you start designing a hedgehog house:
1. Hedgehogs need to be secure from predators.
2. They need warmth and ventilation.
3. They need to be dry.
4. The house should ideally be placed with the entrance turned away from the bitter North winds.
5. They need to remain undisturbed (I know it’s tempting to open the top and peep but don’t do it).
6. Even after they go into hibernation on warm winter days they may emerge for food, so watch out on warm days and provide some cat food so they can replenish their fat stores.
7. Never try to treat a hedgehog for fleas, chemical preparations will probably kill them.
1. A large plastic tub (a garden planter or an old farming feed tub will do … it doesn’t matter if it’s cracked as we will be covering it).
2. 4 pieces of old wood for the tunnel, approx 14 inches long and 6 inches wide (he wood MUST NOT be coated with creosote or similar products).
3. A piece of old wood or thick plastic, large enough to make a floor (the thicker the wood or plastic the warmer it will be).
4. A piece of plastic hose approx 2 feet in length.
5. An old plastic sheet or feed bag, anything to cover the house and keep the cold and rain out.
6. Some bedding material to get them started, untreated shavings or straw, mixed with shredded newspaper and some old dried leaves would be ideal.
There are four (badly taken) photo’s at the bottom of this post to give you a visual aid to contructing the houses.
1. Nail together the four pieces of wood to make a square tunnel.
2. Hold the tunnel next to the outside of the tub and mark the tub around the tunnel. Now cut out the hole in the tub to make the entrance, cutting slightly larger than the tunnel so the tunnel can be inserted into the tub a few inches.
3. Place the tub on an old piece of wood or plastic and cut out a round shape to create a floor. From the cricle cut out a piece so the tunnel lies level with the floor and doesn’t create a step (see the photo’s below).
4. On the opposite side of the tub to the entrance, drill a hole at the top large enough to place the plastic hose through, this will provide ventilation. Secure the pipe in the hole with some strong duck tape.
5. Cut a piece of plastic sheet large enough to more than cover the tub and tunnel, it needs to cover it and run along the floor to ensure rain runs off.
6. Cut a hole in the plastic sheet large enough for the ventilation pipe to stick out.
7. Site your hedgehog house, place the plastic cover over and then cover with leaves, twigs, straw or any materials which will help blend the house into your garden and provide winter protection.
That’s all there is to building a cheap but effective hedgehog house.