Build a Hedgehog House
Build a cosy hedgehog home to encourage them to rest, hibernate and raise their hoglets in your garden. In the 1950s, there were an estimated 30 million hedgehogs in the UK. Recent estimates suggest there are less than a million left. By building a hedgehog home you can provide somewhere safe for shelter, hibernation and raising hoglets. You can make your hedgehog home at any time of year, but it will most likely be occupied in Autumn when they are looking for a hibernation spot. Once your hedgehog home is in place, it might take a little while to become occupied. And remember that you won't see any activity between October and March or April, when they’re hibernating.
Understand the basic principles of a hedgehog home.
They should have a large compartment that is insulated from cold and heat, with a smaller entrance corridor that will keep your hedgehogs safe from badgers, dogs or other predators.
Make your hedgehog home.
Cut out sections as shown on the diagram and nail all the pieces together except the roof.
Whether you make your own or buy one, fill the chamber of your hedgehog home with a layer of dead, dry leaves. Hedgehogs prefer small leaves such as birch, oak, hawthorn or hazel. Then screw the roof to the box so that you can remove it in future to clean the box out. Place the narrow drainpipe in the hole at the back for ventilation.
Find a location
Now you’ve finished making your box, find somewhere suitable to put it. It needs to be in a shady and quiet spot where it won’t be disturbed. The front entrance should be out of the wind. A quiet part of the garden under thick vegetation or behind a shed is ideal.
Cover the outside
Cover the outside in a pile of woody garden cuttings and leaves. You can also cover it with soil, as long as the entrance hole and ventilation pipe is clear.
It's worth clearing out the hedgehog home, every year or two. You can do this in April, after their hibernation but before hedgehogs start producing hoglets. However, the ideal time is in October before they go into hibernation, and after most of the litter have been weaned.
Monitoring your hedgehog home.
Remember that you won't see any activity between October and March/April when they’re hibernating.
If you'd like to find out if your box is being used, put something in front of the entrance that won't blow away but can be easily moved by a hedgehog, like a scrunched-up piece of newspaper. If a hedgehog is at home, you’ll find it will have been moved by the next morning.