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Hedgehog House

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hedgehog House

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Nic Nic 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #18561

    Hi! We have Hedgehogs back in our garden after more than a 15 year absence, so we are very pleased. Want to give the little ones (2) the option of creating a nest in our garen, so was wondering what the best type of house to purchase on the Internet i.e. wooden or igloo, plastic via wood etc. Can anyone please advise or send me a url link of a product they recommend. Thanks in advance.

    #18567
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi bshome

    So lovely that you have hogs back again.

    There are so many different hog houses available. So I can’t really recommend a specific product. I would, though, recommend wood, and one that opens at the top (for ease of cleaning). It needs to have either some sort of tunnel entrance or an internal ‘corridor’. I wouldn’t get a plastic one, because it may get condensation and also when you clean hog houses out you shouldn’t use chemicals, so boiling water is really needed to get rid of parasite eggs. If you want hogs to hibernate in it I would get one slightly taller if possible so that they have plenty of room to build a good nest inside.

    Sometimes it takes a while for hogs to take to a hog house, so I wouldn’t move it too often. Although, you might be lucky and they move straight in.

    More information, including instructions on how to build your own hog house: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/hedgehog-homes/

    #18631

    Many thanks. Just purchased one from Home & Roost

    Can you please advise how deep to make the bedding. I wa going to line it with newspaper, then add a layer of dry leaves on top. Not sure how deep though i.e. do hedgegogs prefer to burrow into teh bedding or just sleep on top.

    #18635
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi bshome

    Well done getting a hog house.

    Hogs are quite particular about their interior decoration, especially for hibernating nests, so I would be inclined to just put a very little bit of bedding i.e. long grasses, leaves (preferably medium sized), etc. inside the house and leave lots of suitable material outside. Personally, I wouldn’t use the newspaper. Hogs are far better at building nests that we are – especially hibernation nests, which can have a very elaborate construction. They actually carefully arrange the leaves, so that they lay on top of each other like overlapping tiles, and sometimes grasses to help knit it together.

    I had a hoglet here one year who conveniently built a nest in a box in front of the camera, so I saw him making numerous journeys in with mouthfuls of vegetation. A small amount of it he actually ‘picked’ ‘green’ from plants.

    The resulting nest, which I was able to get a good look at the next spring, completely filled the box, but there was a hedgehog sized hollow in the centre. So that the hog was obviously able to go in and out without the nest collapsing. That particular hog decided not to hibernate in the end, but used the nest frequently for over-day stays as well as naps between snacks, so he went in and out a fair bit.

    Hibernation nests (hibernacula) are ‘designed’ to be well insulated, so that the hog can maintain a fairly regular, if quite low, temperature whilst hibernating.

    Such an amazing thing that that hoglet just ‘knew’ how to build such an elaborate nest!

    Good luck, hope you get a tenant soon.

    #18658

    Hi, I’m new to the forum and like bshome I’m wondering how to help with nesting. I bought my first hedgehog house and trail camera in May and it has been fascinating to see all the action. This action died off in August/September but now a couple of smaller hedgehogs are back. They are not the same ones as previously, I wonder where the others have gone?

    One of the hogs comes and goes quite alot during the night but it doesn’t appear that he is here just for the food, he appears to be sussing out the box, I wondered if this could maybe be for a nest? He does alot of sniffing around it. I made 2 other ‘nests’ one in a woodpile, and one using bricks and wood. I read somewhere that you could provide straw for the hogs to gather, I wondered if it was ok if the straw etc was damp, obviously the weather has been very wet recently, so I wondered what effect this had on nest building and should I put the straw inside or leave it lying around outside?

    One more question, for how long do I keep refilling the food bowls? I’m afraid one day I will open the box and frighten one in there.

    thankyou, M

    #18663
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi mrsmh

    Sometimes hoglets will appear after all the other hogs have disappeared. That may be what has happened. The other larger ones could have already gone to hibernate. The males do tend to go earlier than the females (and return earlier in the Spring).

    I would keep feeding until the hogs stop eating and for a while after, in case any more hoglets appear. They sometimes keep appearing until quite late in the year – depending on the weather. But leaving water out all winter is a good idea, in case there are any that come out of hibernation for a while.

    I tend to rely on natural materials, i.e. long (possibly ornamental) grasses and leaves (medium sized preferred by hogs) (i.e. the sort of materials they would find for themselves) but some people leave hay or straw out. The hogs usually prefer to make their own nests, so I would put, maybe a handful in any box, etc. which you would like them to use as a nest (to give them the idea) and leave the rest outside. If you can leave it in a slightly sheltered place (maybe under a bush) that might keep it a bit dry, but the underneath should keep fairly dry. (but you could make a little shelter if you wanted, fairly near to the hog house you hope they’ll use.) Hogs build quite elaborate nests for hibernation – as described above – and they are much better at nest building than we are.

    A hog who built a nest here (opposite my camera), chose a dry night – or I should say morning. He was behaving normally until 5 a.m. when it was as if someone had turned a switch on and he started scurrying around collecting material for his nest. That lasted 2 hours. He didn’t finish it that day, but the next morning, the same thing happened 5 a.m. off he went again carrying huge mouthfuls of material into the box. Fascinating to watch on video.

    I’m not sure if you meant the hoglet was sussing out the box you normally feed in, but they do sometimes decide to build nests in feeding boxes. The one I mentioned above did – I had to get another feeding box pretty quick as I had a bit of a cat problem at the time! But it is possible that you will find a hog in a feed box one day. I quite often find them in mine, in the Summer when one has decided to spend the day there. Usually if you very quietly put the lid back down, they will doze off again. But you might get some idea if a hog has been taking in nesting material – there might be a bit of a trail going up to the doorway!

    Good luck. I hope a hog (or two) decides to use one of the places you’ve provided for them.

    #18701

    Hi all,
    We are very lucky to have hedgehogs in our back garden this year.
    I decided to cut a hole in my rear fence that backs onto an dead ended alleyway lined with hedges. We cut the hole on Wednesday and by luck we had a hedgehog visitor Thursday night. We are putting hedgehog biscuit and cat food and we have also put a small hut with ramp and hinged roof.
    Friday night there were two marks in the hay in the hut, one large and one small, last night we went out and inside the hut was a large hedgehog absolutely soundos.
    He had eaten all the food and gone to sleep. He was gone this morning so are obviously happy to eat and kip then leave before morning.
    Is it normal for hedgehogs to do this?
    I have set up my first trail camera this evening to hopefully capture more of what’s going on.
    Thanks for the read

    #18747
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi Mayhew family

    Well done make a hog highway hole. Really good news that a hog found it so quickly. Just shows how worthwhile it can be, for you and the hogs.

    Hopefully, your camera will give you a better idea of what’s going on in the feed box. Normally I wouldn’t put hay in a hog house which I was using for food, because it might give them the idea of sleeping in there. But you might find that either that hog came and went a bit, or even that more than one hog went into the box at different times. Hogs do quite often have naps between snacks. Sometimes, more usually in the Summer, a hog will spend the day in a feed box.

    Good luck. Hope you get some interesting images from your camera.

    #18759

    One thing I’d add re hog houses intended for sleeping/hibernating is to please try and resist the temptation to keep checking inside them. This is particularly important when hibernation is happening because the temperature of the nest is quite important and you don’t want to disrupt it. At other times of year you could also be disturbing new mums and that can have very unpleasant consequences.

    It’s easy to check house activity by leaving material around the entrance and see if it’s gets disturbed. I have a look each morning and I know immediately if they’ve been in and out overnight by the mess around the entrance! Once into winter and there’s little or no traffic then I just leave it. There might be a hog in there and there might not but it just isn’t necessary to open the lid. It’s always tempting but, occupied or not, opening it up doesn’t achieve anything and could possibly do harm.

    #18761

    Nic,
    I set the camera last night and it captured three hedgehogs using the box and feeding. At one point the first and second hedgehog stayed in the box together for a while and then set off an hour apart. It was good to see the box being used and as you say lucky and grateful they found it so quickly.
    At one stage it seemed like the hedgehogs blocked the door with some of the hay we left out but could have just perhaps got moved while eating and moving around.

    WilliamC
    That’s good advice and at the beginning we were just checking to see if it was used but now we have it on camera that it is we shall certainly be leaving them be except for leaving food and water nearby.

    I will add a few of the pics to the gallery

    Thanks

    #18766
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi Mayhew family

    Really good news that your camera has been so successful. Good thing you made that hog hole! You might get even more hogs visiting next year. We are on the run down to hibernation now so maybe not so many around as usual.

    Yes, good advice from William C relating to not disturbing nest boxes. The only exception is when absolutely certain that no-one is resident in the Spring and Autumn, when they might need a clean out to help keep down parasites.

    Feed boxes are slightly different, of course, when they obviously need to be opened to change the food, etc. But, in general the hogs are less likely to sleep in a feed box, if there is no bedding left in there. It happens very occasionally, usually with males, who maybe stayed out too late!

    Hope you get lots more good clips from the camera.

    #18838

    Since getting the camera we have been watching the recorded footage every morning at breakfast. We had a cat one night putting his head into the hut but it didn’t deter the hedgehog from coming into the garden while the cat watched on before leaving over the fence. It looks as though we have 4 good sized hedgehogs (one is an absolute tank) however the last two nights one has seemed, compared to all the others, rather small. All the food is eaten and we put out more hoping the littler one gets his share. Should I be concerned about the little one or will he keep coming and feeding until he is ready?

    #18841
    Nic
    Nic

    Hi MayhewFamily

    Really good news the hogs are still visiting and enjoying the food.

    Re. the little one. It really depends how small. They need to weigh 450g to survive hibernation. You might want to take the advice of your local carer/rehabilitator as to the appropriate weight for this time of year in your area – and tell them that you are supplementary feeding. You can get their contact details from BHPS 01584 890801. If the hog is underweight it will need somewhere to be overwintered so it’s just as well to find somewhere that has the space, in case.

    If you’re worried I would try to weigh the small hog. Try to keep disruption to a minimum i.e. take your scales into the garden beforehand so that you can just scoop the hog up weigh it and if it weighs enough put it straight back where you picked it up. You’ll need gloves – their spines are very sharp, especially when they roll up. I find those 1 litre ice cream containers are plenty big enough to weigh underweight hoglets. Remember to deduct the weight of the container. You might find that the hog weighs enough already.

    Have a high sided cardboard box, or pet carrier ready in case the hog weighs less than is recommended by the local carer/rehabilitator. I would line the box with newspaper. You will need to provide food and water in there and the hogs are very good at spilling the water. You can use torn up strips of newspaper for bedding, or an old hand towel which the hog can burrow under. Hogs are also very good at escaping, so try to make sure the container is secure, whilst at the same time provides sufficient ventilation.

    Good luck. I hope the little one is big enough. Let us know how you get on.

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