30 Days Wild Blog Day 7: Build a hedgehog home
Sadly the number of hedgehogs in the UK has plummeted over recent years. While there were estimated to be around 1.5 million in 1995, today there is believed to be less than 500,000.
Hedgehogs need homes just like humans, so making one for them is a great way to encourage them into your garden. Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly reliant on urban and suburban gardens. Urban populations of hedgehogs have increased by up to a third, while rural populations have halved. This decline is likely caused by the loss and degradation of our habitats due to pressures such as development, agricultural intensification and climate change.
So, whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife like hedgehogs by providing food, water and shelter.
You will need:
Hammer and nails
2 metal hinges
Straw or dry leaves
20mm untreated FSC plywood boards (birch is ideal!) cut to the sizes shown
A quiet, shady spot
How to build your hedgehog house:
Cut your timber to the dimensions shown. Assemble the tunnel and main chamber separately; attaching the feet and the hinge flap before putting the box together will make things a little easier. Don't be tempted to skip the tunnel – it means that predators won't be able to swipe their paws inside! The tunnel will be slightly shorter than the height of the opening so that it can be slotted in at an angle, making a ramp. You can also drill a hole that will fit a hosepipe into the back of the box to add some extra ventilation.
Pick a shady, quiet spot to put your assembled hedgehog house. Lift the lid off the house, and put the dry leaves inside.
Cover with polythene sheeting (making sure it's still accessible for cleaning later on), and pack soil and dead leaves around the outside, leaving the entrance and air pipe free of debris.
Clear out the hedgehog house once a year (late March to early April) to prevent the build-up of pests. Do not clean it out if a hedgehog is in residence though!