The best way to provide a nesting option for hedgehogs is by creating a natural feature, such as a compost heap or log pile, as this has the added benefit of encouraging insect prey too. Artificial hedgehog houses (or hibernacula) are also used by hedgehogs and can be really fun to make.
We now know our Hedgehog Champions have built or bought 3866 hedgehog houses as of June 2014. Take a bow!
If you leave a messy patch in a quiet undisturbed area of your garden then hedgehogs might make their own nest there either to hibernate in or to rear their young. However, if you want to improve your chances of having a resident hedgehog you could either buy or make them a home.
Some things to bear in mind are:
- When siting the box choose a shady, quiet area of your garden.
- If the box lacks a tunnel entrance, try to include an interior tunnel or dividing wall to prevent predators such as badgers or foxes from getting to the hedgehog with their paws.
- We recommend using untreated wood for hedgehog homes. Wood from certain softwood tree species grown in the UK, such as larch, Douglas-fir and red cedar have excellent durability as exterior timbers. Pre-treated wood can contain chromated copper arsenate (CCA) compounds that are hazardous to many species. PTES promote the use of locally grown timber which encourages good woodland management practices.
- Consider rigging up a trail camera to keep an eye on who’s about.
Remember – without access into your garden, a hedgehog won’t use your hedgehog home, no matter how lovely it is.
Buying hedgehog houses
We do not specifically endorse certain brands of hedgehog homes as we are not 100% sure how much hedgehogs actually use them, but will be doing some research into just this later in the year. But some we do know about can be found here at Ark Wildlife or on the BHPS website here.