How to build a home for hedgehogs in your back garden.
You can use any larger-sized box for this, using the instructions below. I used our old glass recycling box, which is no longer needed if you live in East Sussex.
It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week (3 to 9 May 2020)! Sadly, there are fewer than 1 million hedgehogs left in the UK. They need homes just like humans, so making one for them is a great way to encourage them into your garden. It’s also a great activity for the kids to get involved with.
We are lucky enough to have a couple of resident hedgehogs visit our garden each night but by building them a safe home they are more likely to keep visiting. So, we put our glass recycling box to good use and turned it into a hedgehog hotel. Here is our step by step guide to make your own!
You will need:
- A medium-sized box (storage containers for example).
- Some wood or plastic to create an entrance tunnel.
- Wood to create a lid or base.
- A short piece of tube or hosepipe for ventilation.
- A knife for cutting the entrance into the container.
- A saw for cutting wood.
- A drill (a hand drill would be fine if you don’t have an electric one).
- Hay or dry leaves for bedding.
- Leaves, mud and sticks.
Make sure your container is clean and dry!
Locate a quiet and shady area of your garden to position your home. We put ours at the end of our vegetable garden! Hedgehogs are beneficial animals to the vegetable garden because they love eating caterpillars, beetles, slugs and snails that destroy our vegetables.
Check that your box fits where you want to put and create a lid or base depending on which way up you choose to use it. We used our container the right way up and made a lid using some plywood we had in the garage.
Make some air holes in your container. Our recycling box already had some holes in the bottom which are good for drainage, but we needed to make sure it would be well ventilated. We drilled some small extra holes around the top of the box and then made one larger one and put in a short piece of hose pipe to provide additional ventilation.
Cut out the entrance. The entrance needs to be at least 10cmx10cm square, big enough for a hedgehog to get through but small enough to stop predators entering their home. Once we had cut out the hole we covered the edge with some tape to make sure it wasn’t sharp.
Create your entrance tunnel. We made ours from offcuts of wood we had laying around and held them together with screws. You could use glue instead if you don’t have a drill to hand or you could avoid the woodwork altogether and use an offcut of drainpipe or even the middle part of a 2 litre drinks bottle (if you chose this option don’t forget to make your entrance round rather than square).
Add some bedding to get them started! Hedgehogs will create their own nests but we started them off with some hay, you could use leaves instead if you wish!
Put your hedgehog house together! We made the hole for the tunnel snug enough that we didn’t need to secure it but if you’re using lighter weight materials, like a bottle or drainpipe, you may want to secure it to outside of the recycling box using tape.
Cover it with leaves, sticks, mud – you choose!
We all enjoyed making our hedgehog house – everyone got involved and now we’re excited to see if we get any visitors later in the year. We have rested a couple of twigs just inside the entrance so that we can see if any prickly guests try to enter.
As we had most of the materials we needed to hand so the only money we had to spend was £3 on a bag of hay for the bedding. You could save that and use dry leaves instead! If there are materials you don’t have, you could ask on your local Facebook buy and sell or community groups, someone may be willing to donate.
There are some tools required but if you don’t have them yourself try asking other family members, neighbours or friends – they may be happy to loan you what you need!
Discover how else you can help hedgehogs on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website.