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4:00 AM 14th August 2021
nature

How To Build A Hedgehog House Using Household Items

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
Animal lovers are being encouraged to build hedgehog houses in their gardens in the run up to autumn.

The experts at GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have provided their best advice on how to successfully create an inviting home for the small animals.

By providing safe and comfortable places for hedgehogs to live in your garden, you are far more likely to have sightings of the mysterious yet adorable creatures.

Unfortunately, the number of hedgehogs in the UK has completely plummeted over recent years. Because of this, the small animals are becoming increasingly dependent on homeowners to make safe spaces for them in their gardens.

Factors affecting hedgehog population include loss of foraging and nesting habitat through urban development, rural hedgerow removal which depletes the carrying capacity of the landscape and badger numbers are increasing meaning there is more competition for food.

A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said “We believe it is important for Brits to understand why the number of hedgehogs are decreasing and what we can do in our own gardens to help ‘em!

“These adorable creatures deserve to be looked after and given comfortable places to hide away and stay warm during autumn and winter months.

“A huge bonus to helping out the hedgehogs is that you are likely to catch sightings of them regularly in your garden, especially in the autumn and winter months when we start getting darker evenings and darker mornings. These are definitely the best times to get hedgehog spotting with the family.”

Here are GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk’s top tips for building a simple hedgehog house out of items you may already have in your home:

Find your resource

When making a house, try to recycle items such as a large sturdy cardboard box or large plastic storage container that is not being used. A plastic storage box is preferable for a longer term option.

Create access

On each side of your box, cut air vents about 15cm x 5cm. Also create an entrance which is about 15cm in diameter. If using a plastic box, use a small hand saw for this step and sand down all rough edges.

Location, location, location

Place the hedgehog house in a quiet part of your garden, against a fence or wall if possible. Make sure the entrance isn't facing north or north east, this way the hedgehogs can avoid the cold winter winds and it increases the chances of the house becoming a winter hibernation home for some lucky hedgehog family!

Make that house a home

To make the inside of the house inviting and fit to use, pack with dry leaves, grass and straw for bedding. Hedgehog’s tend to prefer small leaves so keep an eye out for any small dead leaves in the garden or surrounding areas and start to collect them up ahead of creating the house. The surprisingly strong animals will make their own nest out of these materials to make it as comfy as possible.

Around the outside of the house, pack soil and dead leaves tightly to camouflage the house and make an almost dome shape, but be careful to leave the entrance and air vents free of debris.

If you have chosen to use a cardboard box, cover the outside with some plastic sheeting or a cut open plastic bin bag ahead of covering the house to ensure the structure is a bit more solid. Also be aware that you may have to replace the house before the spring as the cardboard won't last as long as a plastic storage box. Make sure to replace the house in the light hours of the day and try to ensure there are no little lodgers in there at that time!

Bring on the hedgehogs!

As the hedgehogs will need a way to come and visit their newly built accommodation, cut a small opening in your fence and dig a tunnel underneath so that the hedgehogs have a way to access your garden. Try not to do this on a shared fence with a neighbour, but if that’s the only option then just make sure to get their consent first...maybe even try and convince them to also build a small home so that the hedgehogs have options!