With hedgehog numbers having fallen by a third in just 10 years, they need all the help they can get.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate from late October/early November until March or April, so late summer or early autumn is the perfect time to lend them a helping hand by building a hedgehog home in your garden.
What you will need:
- Hammer and nails
- 2 metal hinges
- Dry leaves
- Straw or dry grass
- Polythene sheeting
- 20mm untreated FSC plywood boards (birch is ideal)
- A quiet, shady spot
How to build your hedgehog home
Cut your timber to the dimensions shown in the download below. Assemble the tunnel and main chamber separately; attaching the feet and the hinge flap before putting the box together will make things a little easier. Don’t be tempted to skip the tunnel – it means that predators won’t be able to swipe their paws inside! The tunnel will be slightly shorter than the height of the opening so that it can be slotted in at an angle, making a ramp.
Pick a shady, quiet spot to put your assembled hedgehog house. Lift the lid off the house, and put the newspaper, leaves and dry grass inside.
Cover with polythene sheeting (making sure it’s still accessible for cleaning later on), and pack soil and dead leaves around the outside, leaving the entrance free of debris.
Clean out the hedgehog house once a year (around late April) to prevent the build-up of pests. Do not clean it out if a hedgehog is in residence!
Making a log pile or compost heap are also good options for providing space for hedgehogs to nest, and have the added bonus of attracting lots of insects for them to eat.