Besides being totally adorable and super cute looking, hedgehogs are really useful animals to have in your garden. Especially because they eat a lot of snails and slugs who can’t eat your vegetables anymore!
But did you know hedgehogs are on the endangered species list?
The hedgehogs are struggling and their numbers have gone down by half in the last ten years alone. When I heard that I was completely shocked and I started to think about what I could do myself, that I wasn’t already doing, to help them. So I decided on making a hedgehog hibernation house.
Over the last several years a hedgehog family is visiting my garden and I love it! They are so cute and they help me in the fight against snails, which I have A LOT of in my garden (but the snail fighting is another story, for another day)
Mama hedgehog is a BIG mama and she has at least 3 babies each year. One year she even had 6! That was also the year I saw them the most, which is very fun for me, but not so much for them. Because when you see them during the day, more often than not, something is very wrong.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures so, if everything goes well with them, you shouldn’t see them at all. Ever.
Maybe see or hear them at dusk or at night, but that’s it.
When you see them during the day it is because they are sick, injured or dying. But most of the time it is because they are starving.
They cannot find enough food during the night, so they have to forage during the day as well to get the nutrients they need to survive and to build enough fat reserves so they can get into and stay in hibernation.
When I learned all this a few years ago, I have made sure I always have a low bowl of water in my garden for when they need a drink and when I see them I feed them cat food. Wet or dry cat food is both ok. They are meat-eaters, so cat food is best suited for their digestive systems. Just make sure it is cat food that is as natural and with as much meat content in it as possible.
And be careful!!! Never, ever give them milk, as this can kill them because of the diarrhoea it causes. Just filtered or bottled water, so there is no chlorine in it, is fine. They will thank you for your help by eating more snails.
So now it is autumn here in The Netherlands and a friend of mine had an old cathouse he didn’t want anymore, I decided I would convert it into a hedgehog hibernation house to help those cute and useful little things survive the winter.
Of course, there is no guarantee they will use it, but I thought I would give it a go anyway. You never know after all. Maybe big mama hedgehog will move in and love it so much she will make a nest out of it to have her babies in the spring. Fingers crossed that will happen.
So without further ado, this is how I went about making the hedgehog hibernation house.
I should have put something underneath, so it would catch the little balls. Even after cleaning up thoroughly, I’m still finding those little suckers everywhere! So beware and saw mindfully.
After that, I lined the inside with cardboard so the hedgehog spikes can not get stuck in the styrofoam. When you want to make your own hedgehog house, please be careful of the materials you use. Only use materials they can not get their spikes stuck in because if they do get stuck they will perish.
So because of that I also taped off around the entrance hole I cut in the styrofoam.
For the ramp, I used a piece of flooring I had and a piece of wood that I cut to make the ‘steps’. I screwed in the piece of the floor into the cathouse and just glued the steps on. I made this ramp so the hedgehogs can get into the house because the step-up was just too high for their little legs.
The last thing I did was make an entryway of an old skirting board I had because hedgehogs like a private entryway or even a small tunnel to get in and out of their nest.
So it is not that difficult to make a hedgehog hibernation house, i even did it for free, just using materials i already had. You only have to keep in mind a few rules, so it will work for them, but that’s it.
Now it is just a matter of time if a hedgehog will start using it. Fingers crossed one will!
If you want to build a hedgehog hibernation house yourself and you want to know the exact rules and measurements, just post a message below and I will let you know!
When I checked the house a few weeks after I put it in place, it seems something might be using it!
I dug out some of the surrounding leaves to be able to take a picture, but I definitely see the leaves inside have been moved. So exciting!