Learn How To Build A Hedgehog House And Shelter These Cuties

Do you have any signs that hedgehogs live in your garden and wondering where to find them? Maybe you want to host a hedgehog, help wildlife, or just make a beautiful home for your prickly pet? Whether you have a hedgehog in your garden or a pet indoors, they both require cosy and safe living quarters. So, do you want to know how to build a hedgehog home?

hedgehog in hedgehog house saying''hog hotel''

Are you ready to build a hedgehog home to encourage these spiky yet adorable creatures to rest, hibernate and raise their small ones in your safe environment? We are here to help, with 2 easy-to-follow guides, for making a hedgehog home for both indoors and outdoors. It’s going to be fun!

Why you should build a hedgehog house

Hedgehog numbers in the UK have fallen by a third just over the last 10 years. There are now less than 1 million wild hedgehogs left, according to the Wildlife Trusts. This dramatic fall is due to contaminated water, pavement of ancient woodlands, garden pesticides, loss of habitat and traffic collisions. That’s why our little friends need all the help they can get!

These small animals make hibernation nests in winter, calledhibernacula. These can be under fallen logs, in compost heaps, hedgerows, or in areas of scrub like bramble. They are insulated, durable, and help maintain humidity to prevent dehydration for the sleeping animal. They also build simpler daytime nests for sleeping, resting, breeding and rearing their young ones over summer. They usually hibernate from late October/early November until March or April. So, if you want to lend them a helping hand by making a hedgehog home in your garden, the best time to do so is late summer or early autumn

By building a hedgehog home, you will be providing your prickly visitors with safe places where they could hibernate, rest, shelter, or raise little hoglets throughout the year! A basic design enables hogs to exit and enter the box but keeps out larger mammals, like foxes, cats and badgers. That way, hedgehogs can stay safe, and they will have a small hole in your garden every time they need it!

How to make an outdoor hedgehog house

Do you want to build a safe and cosy home to protect wild hedgehogs from any predator animals and the elements? Find here a step-by-step guide for a DIY simple hedgehog house!

What you’ll need

  • Wooden crate or box
  • Tape measure or ruler and pencil
  • Hand saw/Circular saw
  • Hammer drill
  • Wooden slats
  • A few rocks, bricks, logs
  • Leaves, sticks, hay

Step 1: Get a 0.60 by 0.60 m or larger wooden box or crate

You can reuse an old wooden crate or box to upcycle it and give your garden hedgehog a home easily and quickly. You may have a wooden crate that you don’t need. If you don’t, you may check at your local grocery store to see if they have one you could get. Just make sure that the box or crate has openings between the slats so that the hedgehog’s home will be well-ventilated.

Do it yourself hedgehog shelter with open roof

If you cannot find a wooden crate or box, you can build one using reclaimed exterior FSC plywood. If possible, go with red cedar, Douglas-fir, or larch wood. If you need extra help, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the RSPB have excellent leaflets showing you how to make a hedgehog house out of wood, cardboard, or plastic.

Step 2: Cut a 17 by 17 cm opening in the wooden crate or box

  • To find these dimensions use a ruler or tape measure and pencil. 
  • Indicate where the opening will go by marking the box with 2 lines. 
  • Position the opening at about the top slat’s centre. 
  • Place your box on a flat and sturdy surface before you start cutting.
  • Use your hand saw to cut through the slat and create the opening.

Step 3: Nail together three 17 by 30 cm pieces of wood

  • Place on their sides 2 of the wood pieces and then 1 on top of these 2 to form a tunnel
  • To secure the tunnel, hammer 1 nail through each corner of the top slat.
  • If you don’t want to create a wooden tunnel, you may also use bricks to form an archway at the hedgehog house’s opening. Put the house on the ground, and then place 2 bricks on their sides, jutting out from the opening. Form a tunnel by stacking 3 bricks side-by-side and perpendicular to these 2 bricks.
  • The house needs to have an entrance tunnel or archway! If you don’t build one, you will make it easy for predators to reach into it and pull out the hedgehogs.

Step 4: Place the box upside down in a cool, shady spot in your garden or yard

  • Hedgehogs love shady spots, such as under trees and bushes. You can also position the house near a fence or behind a shed in a quiet corner of your yard.
  • Give the hedgehogs some privacy and avoid placing the box where pets frequent or in a high-traffic area.

Step 5: Place a few rocks, bricks, plastic sheeting or logs on the house to weigh it down

You don’t want the box to flip over if a strong wind hits it. You can keep it in place by putting some heavy items on top of it, like a few rocks, bricks, or log piles. Just make sure not to put more weight on it than the one it can bear. You can also cover the house with polythene sheeting. If you want to do so, ensure it will still be accessible for cleaning later on.

Step 6: Make the hedgehog home extra cosy with leaves, sticks, and hay

  • You want the home of your small friends to be inviting, cosy and nice. Half fill it with some dry leaves, straw or hay. Just make sure to keep the entrance hole clear so they can come and go anytime.
  • Another thing you can do instead is to leave the box empty and surround it with sticks, dead leaves, and hay. That way, they can fill their homes with their own found materials.

Do it yourself hedgehog shelter with open roof and dried leaves inside

How to make an indoor home for your hedgehog

You may want to make an indoor home for your pet hedgehog or for one you want to adopt and protect from the wild. Keep on reading for a step-by-step guide to making it quickly and easily!

What you’ll need

  • 1.20 by 0.60 m solid-bottomed, well-ventilated cage
  • Shredded paper or hay bedding
  • Hiding spots
  • Water and food 
  • Toys 

Step 1: Choose a cage

  • Hedgehogs need lots of space to play and run, so they need large enclosures. The minimum size for a house for a hedgehog should be 1.20 by 0.60 m, but larger is always better. 
  • Choose an enclosure that lets air flow freely through it, like a cage with wire sides
  • Avoid wire-bottomed cages. You don’t want them to injure your hedgehog’s feet.
  • Consider getting a cage with multiple levels so the hedgehog can climb. Although this is not a necessity, it will provide your hog with extra room to explore.

Step 2: Position the cage away from direct sunlight and drafts

Hedgehogs prefer to be in a cool and shady environment, so avoid putting the cage anywhere with an extreme temperature or too much sunlight. The best temperature for your hedgehog’s space is around 22 °C

Step 3: Line the cage’s bottom with shredded paper or hay bedding

Place about 2.5 cm of bedding in the enclosure’s bottom. Hedgehogs love to build little nests, and hay bedding or shredded newspaper is great for that. Keep in mind that shredded newspaper bedding is the easiest one to clean. Also, you should avoid bedding of wood chips since this may be harmful to the hedgehog.

Step 4: Give your hedgehog a hiding spot

There are many hiding spots for your hedgehog in the market, such as hollow logs, little igloos, and small wooden boxes. Place at least 1 of these into the hedgehog’s enclosure so that it can go into its hiding spot when it wants to relax or sleep. Having a hiding spot will also help to increase the hog’s sense of security.

inside of hedgehog house with toys and 2 hogs

Step 5: Provide water and food for your hedgehog

  • You can feed your hedgehog with low-fat dry cat food to meet most of its nutritional needs. All you need to do is fill with food a small ceramic dish and allow your hedgehog to free-feed
  • You should also include a ceramic dish filled with water or a water bottle.
  • Hedgehogs enjoy treats, like fresh fruits and veggie slices, dried mealworms or crickets. You can put a different treat into your hedgehog’s enclosure daily to find out its taste and keep it happy.

Step 6: Provide toys

You know that hedgehogs are playful creatures, right? To make your own hedgehog feel at home, give it some toys. A great item to purchase is an exercise wheel. Also, tunnels, balls, ramps, and bells make great toys for your small friend.

Cleaning your outdoor hedgehog house-Hogwash!

Do you like your place being nice and tidy? Your prickly pal does too! Besides this lovely feeling, there are more reasons why a hedgehog needs a clean habitat. Hedgehogs have a sensitive respiratory system and are prone to many diseases. Regular cleaning is essential to keep your little friend healthy. Find below how to do it properly.

When it is best to clean your hedgehog house

There are 2 periods when it’s best to move or clean your small house.

  1. April: meaning after hibernation but before they start producing hoglets.
  2. October: meaning before they start hibernating, but after most little ones have been weaned.

How to clean the hedgehog house

  1. Make sure nobody is home. If a hedgehog is using the house, it’s best not to disturb it. How can you know if someone is in? Place a large flower head or a piece of scrunched up paper in front of the entrance one evening. If the next day it’s still there, you can assume that the residence is vacant
  2. Remove old bedding. Hedgehogs have parasites such as fleas and ticks that may be transferred through nest use. You should remove any bedding, wash out the box with boiling water and then leave it to dry out. Always remember to wear gloves so you won’t get bitten by any fleas.
  3. Replace the bedding. You can either leave some dry leaves, straw and hay near the box for a hedgehog to make its nests or put bedding inside the box to give it a head start.

Native, wild hedgehog with house and food. The hedgehog is in a garden with food and water and also a hedgehog house. Hedgehog is facing left. Landscape

Tips for cleaning your indoor hedgehog cage 

First of all, there is no fixed rule regarding how often you should clean a hedgehog cage. You should consider several things when determining the cleaning schedule.

Is the hedgehog litter trained?

Most hedgehogs do their business just everywhere. But you can make them use a litter box or a particular area in their cage if you put some effort into it.

Consider the bedding amount and your daily spot cleaning habits

Changing or not the bedding weekly depends on how much bedding you have in the cage and how accurately you do the daily spot cleaning. Daily spot cleaning means some things you should do daily to keep the cage clean. These take almost no time and include:

  • Remove faeces and change wet bedding.
  • Remove the old food and add fresh.
  • Make sure there is enough water.
  • Change the litter if the hedgie is potty trained.
  • Weekly bedding change.

Monthly deep cleaning

During the monthly deep cleaning, you should clean the whole cage with everything in it. It will be much easier and quicker if you prepare everything in advance and clean everything in the proper order. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Prepare all the things you need: hot water, washcloth, antibacterial soap or vinegar, fresh bedding.
  • Take your hedgehog out of the cage.
  • Take all bedding out of the cage in a waste bag.
  • Deconstruct the cage and wipe all wires and surfaces with hot water and soap. Do the same with the running wheel, hideaways, toys and food bowls.
  • Rinse everything completely.
  • Dry all parts in the sun or with a towel. 
  • Reassemble the cage and add new bedding.

cute hedgehog baby in hog home with toys around

As you can see, you can do so much to help the natural world of wild animals with so little effort. All you need to do is let your crafty side run wild and make your own hedgehog house! This can also be a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to immerse children in nature. Just follow our instructions to make your own and remember; all you need is love and a hedgehog! 

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