For a long time, gardens were considered the ideal retreat for hedgehogs. Since they are now so meticulously tidied up that there can hardly be any talk of a natural character, the funny mammals have it very difficult to find suitable shelter for their hibernation. Even raising the young animals in a dwelling that protects them from hypothermia and predatory enemies often degenerates into a nightmare for the parents. What a blessing when a gardener decides to turn his green kingdom into a hedgehog-friendly habitat and build a hedgehog house. The following instructions for a hedgehog accommodation show how easy it is to succeed.
Table of Contents
Overview of the different construction variants
- Simple hedgehog house.
- Cat-proof hedgehog shelter.
- Stable sleeping place made of bricks.
- Wooden wine box.
- Insulating styrofoam box.
- Nature-loving bunch of branches and leaves.
- Separate bird feeder.
In principle, hedgehogs are by no means demanding when it comes to their housing. However, a few premises should be fulfilled, such as reliable protection against extreme weather, against voracious predators and against the sun in winter.
- Bedroom with an area of at least 30 cm x 30 cm.
- Entrance in dimensions 10 cm x 10 cm, maximum 15 cm x 15 cm.
- Roof as rain and sun protection.
- Stable ground or at least a wire mesh against attacks from below.
- Nest material in the form of straw (no chaff), wood shavings, newspapers as a base.
Since hedgehogs are only social during the mating season, each animal requires its own hibernation spot.
Simple hedgehog house
A very simple, inexpensive, yet effective solution is to build a hedgehog shelter using scraps that have accumulated over the years in a do-it-yourself household. In the best case, all the materials are already available or only individual components have to be purchased.
- 1 wooden board 40 x 40 cm for the roof.
- 2 strips 20 cm long x 2 cm thick for the removable roof.
- 1 wooden board 26 x 26 cm for the bottom.
- 1 wooden board 26 x 35 cm for the front.
- 2 sloping boards 30 x 25 or 30 cm for the side walls.
- 1 corner molding 33 cm long.
- 1 cornice molding 23 cm long.
- 2 cornices 25 cm long.
- 1 section of roofing felt 50 x 50 cm.
- Hammer, nails, ruler, saw, screws, angle pieces.
- Glaze without toxins.
After all the boards have been cut to size, the front wall will have a 10cm x 10cm opening either on the far left or far right. All walls are screwed or nailed to the base plate. Some angle pieces attached inside or outside provide additional stability. However, this step is not absolutely necessary. After the substructure is complete, it’s the roof’s turn. The roofing felt is pulled over the edges and stapled or nailed under the roof overhang.
So that the sloping roofing does not slip off, the prudent do-it-yourselfer nails two strips on the inside at a distance of 7.5 cm from the front and rear edges. The environmentally friendly glaze gives the hedgehog house a beautiful color and at the same time impregnates the wood.
Cat-proof hedgehog shelter
If the do-it-yourselfer wants to be on the safe side that his prickly garden dwellers are protected from sly cats, he can transform the hedgehog house into a small labyrinth with a trick that is as simple as it is ingenious. He builds a partition wall so that a small anteroom is created and the hedgehog turns right to get into the actual accommodation. Thanks to this construction, the cute little animals are also protected from draughts.
- 1 wooden board for the front wall 35 cm x 30 cm x 2 cm.
- 2 wooden boards for the side wall 35 cm x 30 cm x 2 cm.
- Rear panel measuring 35 cm x 25 cm x 2 cm.
- Roof with dimensions 45 cm x 45 cm x 2 cm.
- Divider 31cm x 25cm x 2cm.
- 1 small canopy 14 cm x 5 cm x 2 cm.
- 2 small side parts to the canopy 10 cm x 5 cm x 2 cm.
- Roofing felt
If you don’t like a sloping roof, simply cut the rear wall to a height of 30 cm instead of 25 cm. The partition wall has a recess on both sides with a height of 10 cm and a depth of 10 cm.
In the first step, the partition is fixed to the side panels, 10 cm from the front edge. The canopy is then assembled from the three segments and then screwed to the front wall. The next step is to connect the side walls and the back to the front. Finally the roof is positioned, bolted and covered with roofing felt stapled to the underside of the overhangs.
Stable shelter made of bricks
Leftover bricks after construction are far too good to be stacked in a corner of the property. A solid hedgehog house can be built from it in just a few simple steps.
- Bricks, bricks or natural stones from leftover stocks.
- Stone, metal or wood plate 40 cm x 40 cm.
- chicken wire, newspapers, hay.
An area of 30 cm x 30 cm is measured at a sheltered spot in the garden. After the wire mesh is laid out here, the do-it-yourselfer lays out the stones around this base area. As a result, he pulls a small wall up to a height of 30 cm. Small cavities are sealed with chippings or earth, just like when building a dry wall. A 10 cm x 10 cm gap is left on the weather-proof side for the entrance. The opening should not be larger than 15 cm x 15 cm so that no uninvited guests can get into the hedgehog accommodation. After the plate has been put on as a roof, it is covered with brushwood, leaves or straw to give the hedgehog apartment a homely look.
Practical and fast: wine boxes
Gardeners, who are also wine connoisseurs, have the ideal building material for a hedgehog house in wooden wine boxes. The boxes should have a minimum size of 46 cm x 33 cm x 21 cm and be as solid as possible, i.e. without too much space between the individual wooden bars.
- 2 disused wine boxes.
- 1 sufficiently large plate of wood.
- 1 wooden board as a partition.
The lids are removed from both boxes. In the container that forms the base, the do-it-yourselfer saws a round entrance with a maximum diameter of 15 cm. In addition, he cuts the wooden board in such a way that it cuts off a vestibule about 15 cm wide. This partition gives access to the actual living area. He then bolts them to the side walls. Now he puts both boxes on top of each other. A tension belt holds the containers together or they are glued. The hedgehog hut already has a ceiling; Regardless of this, it makes sense to place a large wooden board on top with an overhang of several centimetres. The pounding rain can run off better this way. Several stones weigh down the hedgehog accommodation so that stormy winds cannot harm it.
Styrofoam box as emergency shelter
They insulate, are waterproof and available for a few euros; Styrofoam boxes have often proven themselves in practice as hedgehog accommodation. Especially when the hibernation place has been destroyed by a mishap, such as overzealous cleaning up in the autumn garden, a polystyrene box will provide a remedy within a short time. This solution is not the ultimate wisdom; before a hedgehog is exposed to the hardships of winter without protection, it gratefully accepts such accommodation.
- Styrofoam box with lid.
- Wooden board, plastic foil, stones.
- Wood drill or sharp knife.
10 to 15 ventilation holes are cut in the upper third of the box. With the wood drill or the knife, the cut is made from the outside inwards, at a slight angle from bottom to top. In this way, rainwater should not run into the interior if it runs down the outer wall. The entrance is square or round in shape and is on the right or left side. In addition, 4 small drainage holes are to be made in the corners of the floor so that no water collects. The finished hedgehog house now has the wooden panel to cover it, which is ideally covered with plastic film and weighed down with several stones.
In harmony with nature
By far the most natural version of a hedgehog shelter is the pile of branches and leaves. Split wood, thin tree trunks or thick branches are stacked on a base area of 4 m² in such a way that a cavity with the dimensions 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm is created. Start with longer pieces of wood, shorten them towards the crest. Finally, cover with leaves and spread fir fronds over it for attachment. The hedgehog then takes care of the padding of the interior itself.
Feeder always separate
Supplementary feeding is usually not necessary. However, if there are young animals in the garden that do not have enough weight before winter or there is a basic lack of food, a feeding station noticeably improves the chances of survival. However, it must never be set up in the hibernation house. If food was permanently available, the hedgehog would not even think of going into hibernation. Until the porcupine has reached its winter ‘fighting weight’, it is fed. As soon as it freezes and snows, the hedgehog should experience a lack of food, as this is a signal to him that it is time for hibernation. It is important to note that the feeding house is meticulously kept clean. The dishes are on a layer of newspaper and are also cleaned daily. It is also advisable to weigh down the feeding station with stones so that dogs, cats or foxes do not use it.
Where it is not possible to make a garden hedgehog-friendly, the gardener is required to offer the likeable spiny animals a refuge. Anyone can build a hedgehog house with minimal effort, because a hedgehog does not make high demands on its sleeping place for the winter. It should be safe from enemies, not too small and protected from unfavorable weather conditions. Whether a wine box, styrofoam box, stone house or a chic wooden hut; a hedgehog shelter increases the chances of survival of these useful garden dwellers significantly