Food sites and nesting sites in the same place
20th April 2022 at 12:22 pm #36641
Hello! I am brand new to the forum, but have already enjoyed scanning through the topics and reading your knowledge and advice 🙂
I’ve recently moved house and the back garden is visited by hedgehogs, hooray! So I hastily made a feeding station for them with some upturned plant pots (one had broken and I was going to throw it away, until I realised that turned upside-down it was now a convenient little hut shape!).
We’ve had a couple of regular visitors eating the cat food and visiting the water bowl, so now I am getting a hedgehog house to offer a better shelter than my current setup (one of those little wooden boxes you see online and in pet shops, with two internal compartments).
My question is this – would hedgehogs be more likely to use a wooden box like this to nest in, or to feed in? Or both?
I’m not sure whether I should start putting the food and water inside the wooden box, so that they are even more protected from predators (lots of cats hereabouts) or leave the food where it is since they already visit it, and put nesting material in/near the box. I think I read somewhere that hedgehogs will not feed and sleep in the same place, so I feel like I should keep them separate – in which case, how far apart should I place the nesting site from the feeding site?
I hope my rambling questions make sense, thanks in advance for any advice you can offer! 😀20th April 2022 at 6:33 pm #36645
Welcome to the Forum! That’s great to hear there are hogs in your new garden – very lucky!
It’s not so much that the hogs won’t nest in the same place as their feeding place – they will. But it’s best to keep them a bit separate in case the food attracts predators. Especially if you want a Mother with young to use your box. (Although all the hogs I’ve seen sleeping in/taking over feed boxes to hibernate in have been males – it may be that the female hogs are more sensible!)
Wooden boxes are fine for either feeding or leaving for a hog to, hopefully, nest in it. If you want a hog to move in, it’s best to put a handful of bedding in the box, but hogs usually like to do their own interior decorations, so it’s best to leave more material somewhere nearby.
There is no need to put food/water into a hog box unless you want to or are trying to keep i.e. cats from the food. Hogs are quite happy to eat outside – I suspect they may even prefer it and some hogs don’t seem to like going into boxes at all. If you want to protect the food from rain, you could use a sheet of perspex balanced on earth filled flower pots, bricks or similar. Other potential shelters are plastic tables – I have some children’s ones which tend to be lower, the top part of covered bird tables put on the ground, or those plastic stepping stools.
The perspex version can be used to deter cats as well, should they be a problem, by making the height just high enough for the hogs but a bit uncomfortably low for cats.
Good luck. I hope you manage to get a set up which suits both you and the hogs. Happy hog watching!20th April 2022 at 8:56 pm #36648
Thanks so much for all your tips and advice, Nic! Very much appreciated 🙂 The new garden is a total blank slate so whilst I’m doing it up for myself I’m also looking forward to (hopefully) making it a real hog-topia!!28th April 2022 at 8:17 am #36802
Hi Nic, I have a similar question, we have one regular hedgehog visitor that I suspect might be living in a shady overgrown corner of the garden but I don’t know for sure because he just appears in the same spot every night (where I put food) and we never see which direction he (or she!) comes from. Thinking of getting a hedgehog house BUT will he use it if he’s already nesting somewhere and should I put it in that shady spot or somewhere different? Some nights we have two hedgehogs.28th April 2022 at 10:39 am #36808
Having more hog houses always has to be a good thing. One of the problems hogs face is insufficient suitable sites for nesting. So if you are thinking about getting a hog house, I would go ahead and get one. A hog may not move in straight away – some won’t until the hog house becomes another part of the local scenery – but you can encourage them by putting in a handful of nesting material (medium sized leaves, grasses, etc.) and leaving more nearby. The availability of nesting material is as important as the hog house. A hog house is only a structure within which a hog can build its nest.
Although a male hog just spending the night may not use much material in the warmer weather, a female making a birthing nest will probably use more and for hibernation all hogs need quite a lot of nest building material to build a suitable hibernaculum.
At this time of year, the males, who have larger ranges than the females, might not even return to the same nest every night. I suspect some, at least, might just bed down in the nearest suitable place to where they find themselves at the end of the night – which has on several occasions been in one of my feeding boxes!
Re. the siting – it’s hard to give any sensible advice without knowing the precise situation there. If you think the overgrown corner is a place where a hog might built a natural nest, I might be inclined to try to site the hog house in another suitable site, to increase the choice – especially if there is more than one hog around (which there usually are – if there is one hog around there are likely to be others in the area). But it really depends what sort of overgrown it is.
Hogs do change nests from time to time – they don’t normally take up permanent residence – but if you clean the house out between ‘tenancies’ it will be available again as a new potential nest site for a hog (the same one or another).
There is some more information in this link: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/hedgehog-homes/
Good luck and happy hog watching!28th April 2022 at 10:41 am #3680928th April 2022 at 5:13 pm #36816
I’m still a novice; but it was only the other day I realised the more you learn, the more there is to know (and so much good advice to be found here.)
Thank you for your question because Nic’s answer re: feeding stations was revelation to me. Duh – silly me!
The sheet of Perspex at hedgehog height seems the perfect solution! Open to the air, easy to clean, cat unfriendly. The visitors in my garden liked to take their supplementary feed in the open (but of course we get British soggy rain) so currently using a more pliable plastic box.
But, I do wonder how many rigid plastic crates have been ruined trying to cut a hedgehog sized entrance? (creating more toxic waste.) Thank you Nic for alternative suggestions.
I once tried a cutting a hog sized hole in a polystyrene box as a feeding station; the pampered cat from next door (Mummy’s little darling!) got it’s head stuck. Oh, the shrieking and the wailing in the still of the evening! Mama’s little Princess was rescued – festooned in polystyrene. No hedgehogs were harmed in the extraction of the Prima Donna 🙂
PS – Money saving idea for Autumn hedgehog house; similar to the feeding station. A quiet corner of the garden, bricks with a paving slab on top, lots of fallen leaves etc nearby.24th May 2022 at 11:31 pm #37250
I’ve had hedgehogs visiting my garden for the last three or four years or even more, one even raised a family in a nest I’d made from a large wire hanging basket, lined inside and out with plastic and covered with thick vegetation. I’ve got two other shop bought houses that haven’t been occupied at all. I have at least four hogs coming into the garden throughout the night because I have four Amazon Blink cameras that are excellent at recording in different parts of the garden. One camera is inside a shed which is where a male has created a large nest under a piece of machinery, not filled with the usual leaves but shredded newspaper which they seem to prefer. He sleeps there every night and is still adding more paper as if there isn’t enough already. I also have another male who is easy to recognise as he has a missing back leg and sometimes he goes into the nest while the other one is in there -oops! There have been at least two females who have been courted, unless its just the one poor female and I know that mating has gone on but I don’t know where the female is nesting.
As far as feeding is concerned, I used to have feeding stations but had to keep adding tunnels, bricks and pipes to them to stop the local cats from getting at the food before the hogs had even come out of their nests. I got fed up and now scatter the dried food around certain places in the garden so the hogs find it when they are doing their pottering about, at least this stops the cats eating it but now it’s foxes as well but there’s always enough to go round. The foxes totally ignore the hogs and I have even seen one shove a hog out of the way to get to the food. I throw a handful of dried food into the shed right next to the nest so the hog always has a snack handy for when it gets up so food near their nest isn’t a problem.19th July 2022 at 11:41 am #38479
Thanks for the ideas and stories, folks! It’s all really helpful to read 🙂
The hedgehogs in my garden have been coming through from a vacant bit of land behind (abandoned railway sidings) but the plot has now been sold for housing development – oh no! I’m hoping the hedgehogs will find enough shelter in gardens to keep living in the area, but they will lose such a large amount of habitat when the building site takes over – such a shame 🙁20th July 2022 at 7:15 pm #38553
That is sad about the housing development. Maybe you could contact the builders, make them aware of the hogs presence and encourage them to include hog holes in the development? But also encouraging neighbours etc. to make more hog holes would help the hogs – especially if one of their sites is going to be removed.
You might be interested in this, from News above:
Good luck. Fingers crossed for the hogs.
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