Autumn is a great time for building a hedgehog house. This is when they start looking for a safe place to hibernate during winter and need our help.
Need an activity to keep your little ones busy this weekend? Why not build a cosy home for these lovely creatures in your garden? In return, they will help you get rid of slugs and other unwanted guests in the spring. Plus, what’s more exciting than inviting them to your garden and waiting for them to settle in. Plus they are quick and easy to build and we’re sure your children will love building a cosy home for their prickly friends!
You will need:
- A big cardboard box or a polystyrene box
- Dry leaves and/or straw
- Something to decorate the house with (paints, colouring pens, crayons)
- Twigs, sticks, branches
Find a nice spot for your hedgehog house. It should be in a quiet part of your garden, in the shade, out of direct sunlight and out of the wind.
Cut an entry way with a knife (about 15 cm2). If you want to protect your little friends, create a tunnel using another piece of cardboard and attach it to your entrance to your hedgehog house. This way, predators won't be able to enter and your hedgehogs will be safe in their new home.
Cut out some air vents so your hibernating little hedgehogs have their own 'air conditioning system' while they're asleep in the hedgehog house.
Ask your little explorers to decorate the house. Hedgehogs are known to like nicely decorated houses! You can use twigs, dry leaves and any autumn finds from your outdoor adventures.
Now it's time to make the hedgehog house nice and cosy for your little visitors. Your children can make a little bed for the hedgehogs inside the house by putting a layer of dry leaves, shredded paper or straw inside. Hedgehogs like smaller leaves such as birch, oak, hawthorn or hazel.
Cover your hedgehog house with dead leaves, twigs, sticks and branches to protect its little residents. You can even cover it with soil so it is nice and sturdy against the autumn and winter weather. Make sure not to cover the air vents or the entrance. Once you've done this, your hedgehog house is ready!
A few tips:
- Make sure a hedgehog can access your garden – otherwise, your lovely hedgehog shelter will stay empty
- Keep the house in a quiet place and avoid disturbing your prickly guests (they like being left alone)
- Leave fresh water and food outside. Remember not to feed hedgehogs with milk, bread, anything seasoned or salty and raw meat
- Be patient – hedgehogs are shy and solitary, and it may take them some time to settle in
- Clean your hedgehog house once a year (best to do it in April after their hibernation). Don’t clean it if your prickly guest is still home.