With the UK full of beautiful wildlife species, you may be looking for ways to attract garden wildlife, including the well-loved British hedgehog into your own garden.
With hedgehog population numbers frequently declining, it is our responsibility to help protect the amazing wildlife species. A recent report warned that between 30-75% of the hedgehog population has been lost in rural countryside areas over the last 20 years. We must act now to protect the future of the British hedgehogs.
Making a quiet part of your garden hedgehog friendly is a great way to offer much needed shelter and a safe retreat for hedgehogs to rest all year round.
How can I attract hedgehogs to my garden?
Once the hedgehog is safe and sound in your garden, you can leave food out for the hedgehog to eat and get a much needed source of nutrients and an energy boost. You can either purchase hedgehog food or if you have a four-legged friend at home, hedgehogs are big fans of dog food. You can purchase hedgehog food on our website.
Another great way to attract hedgehogs to your garden is by creating a hedgehog house. The homes offer a safe space to rest, hibernate in the colder, winter months and to raise hoglets. There really is no better sight than witnessing a litter of hoglets from your own back door.
What is a hedgehog house?
The hedgehog species can hibernate anytime from October to late March/early April and during hibernation, a hedgehog drops their body temperature to match their surroundings. This is why providing a hedgehog home for a spot of shelter to nest and to sleep is so great for hedgehogs, particularly in the cold weather.
Although hedgehogs are great at building their own nests, by providing a hedgehog house already made and ready for winter use in your garden, you'll help to keep hedgehogs safe without them having to use their much needed energy resource.
If you build a hedgehog house well, your garden hedgehog may even choose the spot to raise their own tiny hoglets too. How amazing is that?
How to make a hedgehog house...
You may be wondering how to make a hedgehog house but fear not, it's a lot easier than you may think and can be made using materials you probably already have lying around the garden or shed.
The most important factor of a hedgehog house is to provide shelter for the hedgehog and protection from other predators.
First of all find a quiet spot that is shady and has an easy to access entrance for the hedgehog. A good spot for this is often against a wall.
Once you've found the perfect spot for your hedgehog house, build a box shape out of wood or even old bricks. Make sure this is a large enough house for a hedgehog and their hoglets and has an entrance and air pipe. The ventilation pipe is an important factor in the house so make sure not to forget this.
A good idea when building your hedgehog home is to ensure one side can be taken off easily so that you can clean it out each year. These wonderful little animals are known for keeping their habitats a bit messy!
Once you know how to make a hedgehog house and have created the box, it's time to make it the perfect spot for hedgehog hibernation.
Don't forget to cover your hedgehog house with soil, woody garden cuttings, dry leaves and other thick vegetation so it fits in with the nature around and doesn't attract predators. A messy patch of the garden is often the perfect hiding spot for a hedgehog house. Make sure not to cover the entrance hole and air pipe and to keep these clear.
What should I put in the hedgehog house?
You can do this by covering the floor of the box with dry leaves, wood and other parts of nature you find lying around your outside space.
As wildlife, hedgehogs tend to forage when it comes to nesting season so make sure not fill the whole hedgehog home as they are likely to bring their own materials to create the perfect nesting space too.
Make sure to also pop some water inside so that the hedgehog has easy access to this.
You may also wish to add a hedgehog feeding station to help them out.
A hedgehog is a magical part of British wildlife and the scientific evidence has shown that if we don't all do our bit, whether this is by creating an entrance hole in our fence, leaving out food or creating a home, we run the risk of the amazing species' population continuing to dramatically drop.
A top tip is to place a pile of leaves or something the hedgehog can easily move at the to access the home. In the warmer months when they are not hibernating, you can then tell whether the box is in use or if the hedgehogs are out and about with the other wildlife.