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Help needed with choosing hibernation box., and menu variation suggestions.

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Help needed with choosing hibernation box., and menu variation suggestions.

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    I’m new to this so please bear with me if what I’m asking is obvious, or the information is to be found elsewhere.

    We only saw our hedgehog recently, on our CCTV footage, at the front of the house, where we feed our fox. It was visiting the food site and as it came back through the gap between our side gate and the fence, I opened the back door and put on the light and it froze, half in, half out, obviously in full ‘if I stay really still, I can’t be seen’ mode.

    We have loaf dog food for the fox (Griselda, not that she knows that’s her name, obviously) so I put out about a quarter of a tin and it ate most of it so then I built a special run for it at the bottom of the garden near to a hole under a different fence that the fox’s mother made when she had cubs in our garden. The run is L shaped, two bricks high, covered with a couple of roof tiles – the food is at the end of the L so a fox couldn’t get a paw in to it – food on one plate (dog food, finely chopped chicken, and raisins – I’ve got one who doesn’t like banana, or the crunchy cat biscuits recommended in various internet searches so any other suggestions for a way to vary the hedgehog’s diet would be welcome) – and after a week of hit and miss feeding, we are now in a routine where a hedgehog comes every night. I’m now putting out a whole plate of food and all of it is eaten so maybe it’s more than one but I don’t go and look once I’ve put the food out so as not to disturb it/them, so I don’t know for sure.

    I want to buy a little hut/box for it/them to hibernate in and would really welcome some advice as I really don’t know what is the right thing to get. There are different kinds on eBay but I haven’t the money to waste as I’m a carer so I want to get it right first time, hence my request for information on what others have bought that they know will work.

    Does it have to be up off the ground? Do I put it in the garage to protect the box and contents from the worst of the winter weather? How soon do I put it in place? How big a box? Anything that might help me really.

    Thank you in advance,

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    Hi eht
    Welcome to the Forum and the delights of hedgehogs.

    There really is no need to worry about menu variations for hedgehogs. It is best to stick to cat/dog food or hedgehog food from a reputable source. They do not need anything else (i.e. banana, raisins, etc.) You might like to read:
    on this site, which explains better than I can.

    Natural wild food that they can find themselves, is always best for them, but if you do want to give them a bit of supplementary food, they would probably welcome it when times are hard and if there is a scarcity of wild food around. Also, as you have Griselda visiting, you probably wouldn’t be able to stop the hog eating her food, so you are sensible to give it it’s own feeding place and it sounds as if you have got that well fox proofed. You are right to be wary, because, although it may not be common, and they sometimes will eat side by side, foxes have been known to kill hedgehogs. The only thing is, could a cat get in? If so, you may want to make it cat proof as well, or try one of the hedgehog foods which cats don’t like.

    The other important thing is water – they do drink a lot, especially if you are feeding dry food.

    Re. hog boxes. I don’t think hogs are terribly predictable about what sort of box they like and they may decide not use it anyway. I suspect that it is the location which is more important for nesting. They can be very contrary and one may turn it’s nose up at one box or location and one another. There are tips on how to make your own hog box and loads of other information, on this site.
    I think it would be your choice whether it was up above the ground – some (basket ones like igloos) are open at the bottom anyway. But definitely don’t put it in the garage for the winter, unless it is the type of garage which is always open and if you are absolutely certain it wouldn’t be disturbed and that it is safe. They apparently sometimes wake up in the middle of hibernation and move nests. I would be inclined not to put it in the garage at all. It is more natural for it to be outside. (But having said that, they do sometimes choose to make nests in buildings themselves). But, hedgehogs have been around for millions of years and for most of that time we were not around to provide shelter for them! They are very good at managing themselves if they are provided with the right materials. Lots of medium sized leaves, bushes to build their nests under, etc. You will still need to leave leaves etc. around if you have a box – for nesting material. You can put a box in place at any time, but have a good think about it first, as it may not be a good idea to keep moving it. Don’t be too upset if they don’t use it immediately. My boxes are mainly only used for short stays and have never been used for hibernation – probably because they are located too close to the feeding area.

    Now you know there is, at least one, hedgehog around, you might like to improve your garden for hedgehogs there are some tips at and link it with others. The ideal situation to reach is when there is enough food in the wild for hedgehogs.

    Good luck, I hope Griselda and the hedgehogs are able to live harmoniously together.

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