When it comes to housing, hedgehogs are not demanding. Nevertheless, they want a safe place to hibernate. Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to build a cute hedgehog house.
Have you found a young hedgehog in your garden that should gain some body weight? Or do you just want to offer the little spiny animals a dwelling to overwinter? Then why not build a cozy hedgehog house out of untreated spruce wood! With our step-by-step instructions you will learn exactly how to build a hedgehog house yourself.
Hibernating hedgehogs: what should be considered?
If the prickly foundling still weighs too little and you want to prepare the hedgehog for its wintering, you can feed it. Please note the following:
- Put the food in a flat and sturdy bowl. High-quality wet cat food without jelly, cooked and unseasoned scrambled eggs as well as unseasoned, seared mince is easy to digest and healthy. Hedgehogs are carnivores, so the diet of the hedgehog fosterlings should be rich in fat and protein.
- Fresh water every day comes next. Never give milk to the hedgehog! Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cannot digest the milk sugar. This leads to severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- Rinse the bowls clean with hot water before each filling.
- The hedgehogs like to build their spherical sleeping nests in the adjoining bedroom. Newsprint torn and crumpled up is best for this. In contrast to fine hay for small animals, it hardly attracts moisture over the winter and so does not form mold.
So that the food is not stolen by other animals, a small house is of course a good option. With our hedgehog house construction you can provide the roof with simple hinges so that you can reach into it from above.
Make sure that the hedgehog house is protected from rain and snow, but not exposed to the sun. Otherwise, as soon as the nest warms up, the hedgehog could wake up too early from its hibernation – with unpleasant consequences: in winter it cannot find any food and could starve to death.
The young hedgehogs will go into hibernation during November. You notice the right date when the feed is no longer used up in the course of a week.
Important: During this time nobody should look into the bedroom or even the newspaper nest – it would only disturb the hedgehog in its preparation for the rest period.
The hedgehog house in spring: after hibernation
From mid-April to early May, the animals wake up from their deep sleep. The hedgehog house that was built is also used now, because there is little to eat in most gardens in spring. Unfortunately, many garden owners still start the big spring cleaning with the first rays of sunshine in April: The garden is cleared of leaves and plant residues. What remains is raked, bare ground.
There is then nothing more to get for the hedgehogs. Insects and earthworms? Nothing! The more leaves that remain in the garden, the richer the table is for the animals. Spiders, beetles and snails are preferred. The closer to nature a garden is designed, the easier it is to find food. Just a few changes make the garden hedgehog-friendly.
The hedgehog house as a nest
A mother hedgehog often builds a nest from July onwards and raises her young. It’s nice if she gets fresh bedding from the end of May – by then the old winter nest should be replaced by new newspaper.
The young hedgehogs sleep here until October, even without their mother, until they build their own winter quarters in the garden under large piles of leaves and brushwood. Or one of the boys stays in the house – the animals are loners – and makes themselves comfortable here for the cold months.
As a rule of thumb, leave the leaves wherever you can. Hedgehogs can only find enough insects and earthworms where there is organic matter on the earth.
Piles of leaves and brushwood are particularly useful, which are piled up in a shady corner of the garden, under bushes or conifers. They serve as an ideal shelter and alternative quarters for most of the year. If you want to implement them, June is the best time to avoid disturbing the hedgehogs.
Build a hedgehog house yourself: dimensions and layout
- Entrance (A): A narrow entrance area prevents cats from entering. Brown rats don’t stand a chance either: A smooth-running flap arouses their suspicion and keeps them away from the food.
- Pantry (B): Special food for hedgehogs is served in the dining room. Since the animals chew in the front and digest in the back, a few layers of folded newspaper make cleaning a lot easier.
- Sleeping place (C): The hedgehogs enter the bedroom through a small passage: They like to build their nests out of crumpled newspaper.
Build a hedgehog house yourself: step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Mark the dimensions
Apply the dimensions on a spruce glued board (width 70 x length 40 cm) using a square, pencil and steel ruler.
The steel ruler, bent upright, is used to mark the curves on the sides of the front and back.
Step 2: Saw out the components with a jigsaw
Then cut all parts with a jigsaw. Before doing this, pre-drill the turning points with a 10mm wood drill.
Step 3: process the edges
All edges are processed with a 60 grit sandpaper.
Step 4: attach the flap
The flap against the intrusion of brown rats must be able to swing freely on both sides – it is screwed on with small hinges.
Step 5: Connect all components with drywall screws
All sawn parts are now assembled with drywall screws. You can also apply additional glue to the parts for an even better hold.
Step 6: cut the roofing felt
The roof is made of sanded cardboard. Their corners are cut out with a knife so that they don’t lie on top of each other and break later.
Step 7: staple the roofing felt
Fasten the roofing felt to the spruce glued board with a hand stapler and long stainless steel clips.
Step 8: fasten the roof with piano hinge
The roof is screwed on with a brass piano hinge. You put the plate on the floor, position the house indented accordingly and then screw everything down. The protrusion is 5cm.
Step 9: stand for the roof
The stand holds the roof when cleaning the interior, leaving the 14x14mm strip in the 6mm deep blind hole (20mm drill).
An intermediate shelf holder (white) serves as a support.
Step 10: finished hedgehog house
The hedgehog house is ready and can now be positioned at a desired location in the backyard. Make sure that the hedgehog house is protected from rain and snow, but not exposed to direct sun.
We have chosen a thinly sanded red roofing felt for the roof of the hedgehog house. It is simply stapled from below on the hinged lid. Thick pond liner from the garden market, which is available in an inconspicuous dark green tone, is also conceivable.
If you want, you can also design the hedgehog house in color. However, you should pay attention to environmentally friendly paints with the organic symbol. A cladding with natural mats is also attractive, then the dwelling is perfectly integrated into a shady garden corner and the hedgehog feels even more secure.
Do you like such projects and would you like to build more of these yourself? Then we have something really great for you here. We have put together a large archive with many great ideas for you that you can recreate yourself without any problems. This is definitely great if you have children, choose a project together and start building. With our instructions you are guaranteed to succeed!