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Hedgehog Street People: Gus from Midlothian

22nd April 2022

Hedgehog Champion Gus from Midlothian tells us all about how he used his tech skills to share his garden wildlife with family during lockdown.

Operation: “Spike”

“I’ve worked in IT for over 30 years and always liked seeing the odd hedgehog in the garden, so what better project than to bring hedgehogs and technology together!

It all started as a bit of a small “lockdown project” where I made a bird box with a live camera for the wider family to watch on the their laptops while stuck at home. This was successful with the odd wild bird but I had always wanted to help the local hedgehogs with a safe home and food/water. So the plan soon became build a new hedgehog home from scratch, and then add it’s own CCTV!”

Operation: “Spike” was a GO

“I took time to research the correct size/shape hog house and how to make sure it would stay dry and damp free. There are some great resources out there especially Hedgehog Street which quickly became my second home.

So after a few visits to local DIY stores, some camera purchases and the odd underground cable, our garden not only has safe routes for hedgehogs, it also has a new safe house with regular food and water; together with 2 online cameras for watching our local hedgehog community each and every night.

I waited to install the hedgehog house until I had seen some hedgehogs after their hibernation. That was mid-March and amazingly we have seen several visits every night, which is excellent and lovely to see. I think our local hedgehog community must be the best fed and watered in the area. A few cats came by in the early days but they seem to have got the message that they are not welcome and don’t visit now.”

Tips for keeping cats away from hedgehog food.

The hedgehog tech

“Putting all the video online and making it available for the family was probably the quickest part with a small website and a tiny computer (a Raspberry Pi) to send the footage online and host the live camera feeds.”

“The website runs 24/7 with live cameras inside and outside the hedgehog house; and I try to find the best clips from each night and publish these in the highlights section.

Looking back it’s not as difficult as some might think. You can get hold of simple cameras and software to do the basics very cheaply. So anyone can get started and see their local hedgehogs live in their garden each night.”

“I’m more than happy to help anyone else with similar IT and hedgehog projects. The website has a “contact me” page so if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

We are looking forward to more nights of live hedgehog visits, and maybe even a “move-in” date in the Autumn for this year’s hibernation.

Stay tuned – look out for our local hedgehog every night from around 9pm!”