Best Place To Put Hedgehog House In Garden
Like most people with a big heart, you must be wondering; which is the best place to put hedgehog house in garden? You are just at the right place to get your question answered. However, I will be going through some of the most important things you need to know about hedgehogs and also some of questions people looking for this information like you ask. By the end of this post you will not only have the information you need about hedgehogs, but also very ready to host you first hedgehog visitor in your garden.
What comes to mind when you think of hedgehogs? They are one of our most familiar and easily recognizable wild animals. With numbers decreasing we all need to do our bit to help provide new habitats that urbanization and severe farming have destroyed.
It is so sad to learn of how hedgehog numbers in the UK has dropped over the recent years. In 1995, hedgehog’s population was estimated to be around 1.5 million – today there is believed to be less than 500,000. That is a big decline, right? Hedgehogs like humans need homes. 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. It’s the high time we all did all we can to save these lovely animals by making them feel at home in our gardens.
Which is the best place to put hedgehog house in garden?
One of the key factors to encouraging hedgehogs to your garden is knowing the best place to put hedgehog house in garden – that is why it’s important to consider the following:
- Hibernating hedgehogs like being in peaceful places with max silence. You should put the house where it won’t be disturbed, against a wall, bank or fence if possible and under or near plant cover.
- The north wind doth blow, so face the entrance away from north or north-east and you will surely encourage a guest to your hedgehog house.
- Hedgehogs love furnishing their homes with leaves and garden debris. It’s part of their hibernation ritual.
- Once the hedgehog house is occupied, make sure not to disturb at all. You might frighten a nesting mother and cause the young ones to be abandoned.
- If possible, put your hedgehog home in/near a damp, untidy area. This ensures that hedgehogs are protected when they come out to forage.
- Compost heaps: Hedgehogs might be nesting in your compost heap. Before you dig in the fork to turn it over make sure to check first.
- Fruit nets: Avoid fruit nets or mesh as hedgehogs can get tangled in them.
- Lawn mowers: Hedgehogs can be killed by trimmers, so either avoid them or be so careful. Also be careful when you’re using a lawn mower, especially when cutting long grass.
- Slug pellets: Slug pellets can be fatal to hedgehogs, as can weed killers and other chemicals. Hedgehogs will be on pest control duty anyway.
- Access: When thinking about the best place to put hedgehog house in garden, access is very important. Hedgehogs have a large territory. This means that they may use a number of different gardens to forage for food. If you want to encourage them to your garden, make sure there’s an easy way in and out.
Important tips to consider
- How to attract and encourage hedgehogs in your garden: Talking about the best place to put hedgehog house in garden would not be complete without discussing how to attract them to your garden. Hedgehogs need safe nests for sleeping, breeding and most importantly hibernation. These places must be waterproof, warm, well ventilated and safe from predators. Hedgerows, fallen trees, wild areas and derelict buildings made up these suitable sites but our current farming and gardening methods leave fewer suitable sites available to the hedgehogs. Yearly hedgehogs are killed and injured in large numbers by trimmers, mowers, forks and fire as they seek nest sites in thickets, compost heaps and long grass. Research shows that 28% of hedgehogs fail to survive each winter, with harshness of the weather having the highest impact. The weight of an adult hedgehog determines its survival. Any juvenile found after the end of September weighing 500g or less will not survive without additional feeding.
Note: Hedgehogs forage over wide areas up to 3-4 miles a night. You can encourage them to visit your garden frequently by providing access through a 4.5 inch gap in your fences, hedgehog food and water at night throughout the summer. Providing a permanent shelter will tempt them to set up a home. However, a female hedgehog may even use a hedgehog house to have her young.
- Siting your Hedgehog House: In autumn as the days get shorter and nights get cooler hedgehogs need warm dry winter houses appropriate for hibernation. Once they find one, they start collecting leaves, dry grass and brush to make a nest. By putting a hedgehog house in a quiet shaded position in your garden with the entrance hole due to the weather (ideally facing East to South), part filled with handfuls of leaves, grass or hay to start a nest, you will be providing a hedgehog with a perfect nesting site. You can simply place the hedgehog houses at a suitable location in your garden leave it. However, if you wish you can partially bury it in the ground, under a log pile, compost heap or a comparable. Ventilation is provided at roof level and the entrance hole is slightly raised to allow this.
Once you have the hedgehog house in position, try to keep distance and avoid visits to it as human odors and unnecessary disturbance may discourage hedgehogs from taking up residence. To check if an animal has occupied the house place a small light object like grass in front of the entrance to see if it gets pushed away.
- What to feed your hedgehog: Preferably look for hedgehog food that offers the correct balance of nutrition and vitamins that your hedgehog needs. Nevertheless, hedgehogs are omnivorous and like humans, they enjoy a mixed and varied diet. So in addition to their main food, try supplementing their diet with wet, meat-based tinned pet food as well as calcium worms, or high quality hedgehog muesli. Make sure these have no added salt or sugar and must be balanced for calcium and phosphorous. Do not feed bread or milk to hedgehogs as this may cause diarrhoea. Make sure there is a shallow dish of clean fresh water every night for hedgehogs and other wildlife that may visit your garden.
If cats and other animals are attracted to these meals, try offering non meaty proprietary hedgehog foods or a handful of calcium worms or crushed peanuts.
- Maintaining your Hedgehog House: Hedgehogs carry many parasites such as ticks and fleas, therefore in the wild they change nest sites regularly to avoid a buildup of pests. In your garden, you can help by cleaning the nest chamber in April and October (post hibernation and post breeding season) as long as the house is empty. Remove and destroy all old bedding material and clean the interior with boiling water and/or scrubbing with slightly soapy water or veterinary approved disinfectant. Allow it to dry before replacing the roof and then add new dry, clean hedgehog house bedding ready for the next occupant. A well sited hedgehog house should be in a secluded area out of the weather but still allowing good air circulation. In such positions a purpose built Hedgehog House will last for many years with no further treatment. Nevertheless, to increase the beneficial life of your hedgehog house indefinitely you may prefer to add additional protection, in which case you can cover the lid with roofing felt and apply a water based preservative (outside only) bi-annually. Do not use creosote or use a solvent/oil-based preservative because the fumes are toxic. There are lots of animal safe water based preservatives available from good hardware stores.
Hedgehogs naturally carry fleas and ticks. If you find a hedgehog with excess ticks or in poor condition during the day, please consult a vet.
10 Related question and answers
- When should I put out my hedgehog house?
It’s worth clearing out the hedgehog home, every year or two. You can do this in April, after their hibernation but before hedgehogs starting producing hoglets. Nevertheless, the ideal time is in October before they go into hibernation, and after most of the litters have been weaned.
- Do hedgehogs have to have bedding?
Put enough in the cage.
Having enough bedding is also very important if you want your hedgehog to be comfortable when walking around in its cage. The ideal range of thickness you’ll want to aim for us 2-3 inches. Having enough bedding is also important for enrichment and allows your hedgehog to burrow effectively.
- What bedding do you put in a hedgehog house?
Hedgehogs will make their own nests from materials in the surrounding environment so the best thing to do is ensure there are plenty of leaves near to the box. You can also put bedding inside the box to give them a head start, such as leaves, straw or hay.
- How often do you change hedgehog bedding?
If you should change the bedding weekly depends on how much bedding you use in the cage and how accurately you do the daily spot cleaning. So for some, it would be ok to change after about 10 days, while others have to do it after 7 days. For the change itself, it is important that you remove all the old bedding.
- Do hedgehog houses attract rats?
Given that rats build nests under houses, burrow beneath walls, and take shelter amongst shrubs, there is a good possibility that rats would live in a hedgehog house. This possibility only increases with the presence of food and water; and if the house is in an area that attracts rats.
- Do hedgehogs poop in their house?
So, do hedgehogs poop in their house? Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. Due to this, they will tend to spend most of the day sleeping and get out during the night to go for a poop. Since they feed during the night and sleep during the day, hedgehogs often poop in their house.
- What is the ideal size for a hedgehog house?
The nest needs to be big for insulation during winter and to allow room for a family if it’s being used as a breeding box. Even a feeding station needs a certain amount of space to allow the hog to move around the dish. So a hedgehog home should be at least 35cm square.
- How big a hole does a hedgehog need to get through?
13cm by 13cm
13cm by 13cm is sufficient for any hedgehog to pass through. This will be too small for nearly all pets.
- Should you put food in a hedgehog house?
Hedgehogs will not usually eat and sleep in the same place so it’s best not to offer food inside the home (except perhaps to tempt them in initially). Once there is a resident, move food away from the box so as not to attract predators or rival hedgehogs to the site.
- How do I know if there’s a hedgehog in my garden?
If you suspect that a hedgehog might be wandering around your garden at night, look out for these tracks and signs:
- Footprints. Hedgehogs weigh around 1kg but they don’t leave footprints unless the ground is very soft.
- Disturbed Foliage.
- Install a Camera.
Having all that information without taking action is pointless. Now that we have looked at everything you need to know about the best place to put hedgehog house in garden, it’s the high time you become a host to some hedgehog in your neighborhood. It’s all our efforts pot together that will help save the hedgehog numbers which are rapidly decreasing.