By providing safe places for hedgehogs to live, you’re much more likely to see these prickly creatures in your garden.
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.
The once common hedgehog is declining in number – since 2002, we have lost around 30% of our hedgehog population. It is becoming increasingly reliant on urban and suburban gardens; indeed, urban populations of hedgehogs have increased by up to a third, while rural populations have halved. This decline is likely caused by the loss and degradation of our habitats due to pressures such as development, agricultural intensification and climate change.
So, whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife like hedgehogs by providing food, water and shelter.
You will need:
Hammer and nails
2 metal hinges
Straw or dry grass
20mm untreated FSC plywood boards (birch is ideal!) cut to the sizes shown
A quiet, shady spot
Access to your garden for hedgehogs
How to build your hedgehog house
Cut your timber to the dimensions shown. 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 and air pipe free of debris.
Clear out the hedgehog house once a year (late March – early April) to prevent the build-up of pests. Do not clean it out if a hedgehog is in residence though!
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!