If you are buying a hedgehog house, select one that considers a hedgehog’s natural habitat and living habits. You will want a house that offers comfort, cleanliness, warmth, and protection from predators and the elements. In this way, you can welcome hedgehogs to your backyard season after season.
When it comes to my garden, there are fewer things I enjoy more than catching a glimpse of a hedgehog as it walks into a cozy outdoor home — especially one I’ve established for it. Usually, I can catch these spiny little creatures in the early morning, as they come in from a night of foraging or traveling from yard to yard.
How to attract hedgehogs to my garden. You will need to provide an accessible habitat that is friendly to the species. This includes an emphasis on providing adequate shelter, food, and safety measures to a garden space suitable for hedgehog feeding, hibernation, and nesting behaviours.
It has only been recently that I’ve seen hedgehogs with some regularity. This might be due to the fact that the hedgehog habitats I’ve established before were only partially effective in protecting them from neighbourhood cats and heavy rains.
So if you’re interested in establishing a hedgehog house yourself, here is what I’ve found out about hedgehog habitats, do-it-yourself hedgehog home construction, and the top 5 hedgehog house best buys around.
HEDGEHOG HABITATS: AN OVERVIEW
Hedgehogs are creatures that exhibit traveling, nesting, and hibernating behaviours. Nocturnal in nature, hedgehogs travel up to two kilometers every night — and in an urban or suburban setting, this can mean they travel between many different yards and gardens.
During the day, hedgehogs like to rest — and in the wild, they take up in secluded areas of underbrush, shrubs, and hedges. They will also build nests of their own of small twigs, moss, grass, and leaves. These nests offer them protection from excessive sunlight, rain, wind, and other animals.
In a period roughly from October to March, hedgehogs hibernate, resting in nests based in similarly protected locations. During this time, they are in a true hibernation state, lowering their body temperature [https://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/animals/article/european-hedgehog-hibernation] to below levels of 15 degrees Celsius (as compared to 35 degrees during the summer months).
Hedgehogs also reproduce between April and September, mating in May and June. They give birth in June or July, usually to litters of four or five hoglets. These offspring will leave a nesting area after three or four weeks, foraging with their mothers for ten days afterward, before finally venturing out on their own.
Given this behavior, any man-made hedgehog house (especially one in suburban or urban areas) will have to exhibit characteristics of a rural (or wild) hedgehog nesting environment. It will have to be secluded and comfortable, furnished with natural materials, and large enough to accommodate hedgehogs and their offspring.
It will also have to offer some protection from other animals, as well offer a safe cover from periods of rain, snow, and high wind. With this in mind, there are different ways to consider building your own hedgehog house or purchasing one that is ready-made.
DO-IT-YOURSELF HEDGEHOG HOUSES
Making a homemade hedgehog house can be as simple as placing a flat pavement stone on top of a few neatly stacked bricks. The interior of this type of house should be lined with dry leaves or grass.
This type of house should be placed in a shady or secluded area with its opening facing south. You can place some more bricks on top for stability, or surround the top with twigs, leaves, or dry grass.
Another type of hedgehog house can be made using a clear plastic container with a lid (about 30 centimeters long, 15 centimeters high, and 15 centimeters wide), a PVC pipe (that is 10 centimeters in diameter), some duct tape, newspaper, some bricks, and some dry leaves and grass.
On the middle of the long side of the clear plastic container, place the PVC pipe perpendicular to the container and trace a circle (using a sharp knife) on the container around the pipe’s diameter. Then, using some scissors, cut a hole in the container along the traced circle — the pipe should fit snugly into the hole.
Line the edge of the cut hole with some duct tape (to avoid potential injury to hedgehogs) and slide the pipe inside. You can now place the container/pipe on the ground where you want to, with the container opening (where the lid would normally go) on top.
Personally, I would cut/drill an additional hole to the rear and add a pipe to make the plastic box a little more comfortable.
You will want to line the inside of the container with a bottom layer of newspaper, and then a layer of dry grass. Then, put the lid on top of the container. Place a few bricks on each side of the container, and one on top of the lid.
You now have the makings of a hedgehog house. Place plenty of dry leaves and grass on top of the house to make it look like a habitable nest — indistinguishable from its surrounding environment. You can change the newspaper biennially should the need arise to clean the house.
HEDGEHOG HOUSE BEST BUYS
If you aren’t too sure about making your own hedgehog house, there are plenty of ready-made houses to choose from, available online or at specialty gardening stores. While my experience with store-bought hedgehog homes is somewhat limited, here are the top 5 hedgehog house best buys I’ve recently seen around.
THE WILDLIFE WORLD HOGILOW HEDGEHOG HOME
The Wildlife World Hedgehog Home is a circular/spiral design hedgehog house that is 50 centimeters long, 39 centimeters wide, and 23 centimeters tall. It is made of a combination of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified timber and recycled plastic and metal materials.
Interestingly enough, the Hogilow Hedgehog Home has two openings. One opening is the hedgehog entrance, which is 12.7 centimeters in height and leads to another interior entrance door once the hedgehog is inside.
The other opening is not for hedgehog entrances or exits, but rather a swivel-hinged top door that can be slid open to monitor and clean the hedgehog house interior. The door, once opened, reveals a round hole surrounded by wooden paneling.
Viewed from the top, a person can see whether a hedgehog is still in hibernation — or if the house itself needs cleaning. The manufacturer recommends cleaning once a year if left unoccupied after hibernation (late March or early April).
That said, the house is sturdily constructed and has a solid floor. At 3.85 kilograms, it is weighty enough to be a stand-alone hedgehog house. You, of course, may want to cover it a bit with leaves and line the interior a little.
The opening is designed to keep larger animals out — and this can include neighborhood pets like cats and dogs. If the Hogilow Hedgehog home sounds like something of interest to you, go to Amazon and give it a closer look.
THE HUTCH COMPANY HEDGEHOG HOUSE AND HIBERNATION SHELTER
If you want a hedgehog house that has simplicity as its mainstay, look no further than the Hutch Company’s Hedgehog House and Hibernation Shelter. This wooden hedgehog house is boxed-shaped, has a square entrance, and a gently sloping roof with a felt top surface.
Though these features seem almost too simple, the exact opposite is true. The Hedgehog House may be straightforward, but it has solidly-built construction timber floors, and even a removable interior wall with another arched opening — making it a two-room hedgehog home.
In addition to this, the house is easy to clean. Since the roof is removable, you will be able to see inside after and before hibernation periods (like in the months of April and October). Cleaning also merely requires washing the interior with boiling water and air-drying it outside.
The sloping roof makes it easy for rain and snow to roll right off. The doorway, which is 12 centimeters high and 13 centimeters wide, is just large enough for hedgehogs to move freely in and out (and keep your neighborhood cats from entering).
The house is 46.8 centimeters long, 41 centimeters wide, 28 centimeters tall, and weighs a robust 4.5 kilograms — meaning this is a solid, decently-sized hedgehog home. If the Hutch Company’s Hedgehog House sounds good to you, you can see it here on Amazon.
THE WILDLIFE WORLD IGLOO HEDGEHOG HOUSE
If you are looking for a more natural-looking hedgehog house, you might want to give Wildlife World’s Igloo Hedgehog House a look. This dome-shaped hedgehog house boasts a steel frame interior, a brush wood finish, and is padded on the outside with a faux-moss trim.
The house looks like a natural woodland home, it could easily blend in with piles of leaves, grass, or underbrush twigs. Its igloo shape is conducive to easily draining off any rainwater or snow that may fall onto it, keeping the hedgehog inside warm and dry.
The dome is about 51 centimeters in diameter and the entrance is about 25 centimeters high. The entrance juts out slightly from the main dome and forms a small arch in front.
The house weighs 2.38 kilograms and unlike other hedgehog houses, does not have a bottom floor. Though this may seem like a drawback, this can favor easy cleaning and moving should the need arise.
That said, there should be enough room for more than one badger in the igloo dome — and an entrance small enough to prevent cats, foxes, and badgers from entering. For a more natural-looking hedgehog house experience, go and see the Igloo Hedgehog House on Amazon yourself.
THE HUTCH COMPANY DELUXE VENTILATED PREDATOR PROOF HEDGEHOG HOUSE & HIBERNATION SHELTER
The Hutch Company’s Deluxe Hedgehog House & Hibernation Shelter certainly is a hedgehog house with a thought-out design. At first glance, it appears to be a wooden box that is 44.6 centimeters long, 41.4 centimeters wide, and 28.3 centimeters tall.
But that really is just scratching the surface. This house also features a slideable front access tunnel, a sloping felt-topped roof, and a back-oriented ventilation hose. These features are tailor-made to account for difficulties with adverse weather, animals, and interior conditions.
The house weighs a stable 7.5 kilograms and should have enough interior room for a few hedgehogs — or just one if you line the inside with enough dry grass and leaves. This should be an easy task, as the roof is removable, making the house easy to clean as well.
The slideable access tunnel is a unique feature of this hedgehog house and can be used to its full advantage when the main portion of the house is given enough cover. A hedgehog can travel deep within the tunnel to escape animals and the elements, and even further to get to a warm room.
Depending on your yard conditions, the access tunnel can be placed further inside — giving you enough room to work around the house should you need extra gardening room. To look closer at the Hutch Company’s Deluxe Hedgehog House & Hibernation Shelter, visit it on Amazon here.
THE RIVERSIDE WOODCRAFT HEDGEHOG HOUSES WITH ANTIBACTERIAL COATING
Sometimes weather conditions around your home can do more than just get a hedgehog wet. If you leave any hedgehog house outside long enough without cleaning it, the chance that mold, fungi, and bacteria will grow in and around it will increase.
This is exactly what the Riverside Woodcraft Hedgehog House was designed to prevent. This is a rectangular boxed-shaped hedgehog house that is made of varnished wood coated with a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)-approved antibacterial substance.
In prolonged wet or damp conditions, this coating would ostensibly serve to prevent bacteria and mold from growing. This is also the same for the interior, where hedgehog nests may also provide conditions for these harmful microorganisms.
The house (large-sized, but also available in small and medium sizes) is 24 centimeters tall, 34 centimeters wide, and 42 centimeters deep. The roof is removable and is made out of recycled eco-friendly material, making the house interior that much more easy to clean.
The opening is arch-shaped and is 12 by 12 centimeters — making it a hard entrance for cats, dogs, and other animals. If you would like to see more of the Riverside Woodcraft Hedgehog House, you can view it here on Amazon.
When choosing a hedgehog house, keep in mind the environment of your backyard or garden. Maybe a do-it-yourself hedgehog house is suitable for your yard’s particular environmental conditions, or maybe you need a ready-made house tailored to handle spring showers or winter snowstorms.
So long as you keep in mind the fact that a living, breathing hedgehog will take up residence in your hedgehog house, you probably won’t have too much of a problem. Use your intuition in choosing a house, but also observe what the hedgehogs in your area are attracted to. This way, you will not just have set up a house for a hedgehog, but a home.