Old leaves and dead wood offer a hedgehog sufficient protection in winter. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer garden owners are enjoying tree waste lying around, so leaves and branches are regularly removed from the lawn. For the animals, whose natural habitat is shrinking every year, finding suitable shelter is more difficult than ever. Especially since important food sources such as beetles and snails, which normally live in the piles of leaves, are also disappearing. This makes it all the more important in autumn to offer little garden visitors more protection – for example with a hedgehog house.

The right time: When temperatures drop, hedgehogs start looking for suitable winter quarters. For this reason, you should put the shelter in the garden or on the terrace in late autumn (i.e. from October, but no later than November). It is important to know that the prickly animals are solitary creatures and therefore cannot move into a hedgehog house in pairs. So if you want to provide care for more than one hedgehog, you would have to set up several houses outside.

The right location: In order for a hedgehog to feel comfortable in its new home, the house should be placed in a quiet corner of the garden. The location must also be dry so that rain and snow do not harm the animal. Too much sun is also not good, as otherwise the hedgehog could wake up from its hibernation due to the warmth, not the light. The entrance to the hedgehog house should, if possible, face south-east so that wind and weather cannot penetrate inside.

Hedgehogs also have to relieve themselves every now and then during hibernation, but they don’t go out the door to do this – instead they go to their quarters. To keep the shelter relatively clean, you should drill a hole in the floor of the house (if it doesn’t exist) and fill it with some sand or pebbles. This allows the urine to drain better. The roof should also be removable in case you need to look after an injured hedgehog, add new straw or add some hedgehog food. Below we will introduce you to four different models:

1. Hedgehog house made of beech wood

This igloo-shaped hedgehog house made of impregnated beech wood has been additionally insulated on the inside to protect the animal from cold temperatures in winter. It has a narrow entrance so that its natural predators such as badgers, martens and foxes cannot fit through. There is a large flap on the back that can be opened for cleaning, for example.

2. Igelhaus aus Tannenholz

According to the manufacturer, the Dehner hedgehog house made of robust fir wood has a weatherproof roof that can also be removed to make cleaning easier (after hibernation). The interior consists of two separate chambers to allow the animal to better protect itself and retreat. With just 300 grams of weight, the hedgehog house is very light.

3. Hedgehog house made of multiplex panels

This model is the largest in our presentation round and is therefore suitable for an entire family of hedgehogs – although the animals are solitary creatures, they can also use the shelter in spring to build nests for their offspring. According to the manufacturer, the hedgehog house was made from weatherproof multiplex panels, and there is also a removable roof and two separate entrances.

4. Hedgehog house made from pine wood

Conni Oberkircher’s has a model made of glazed pine wood. It should be weatherproof and protect the animal inside from intruders – this is made possible by a protective wall. It is important to know that this hedgehog house is delivered in individual parts and must be assembled. Since there is no soil, it should be covered with straw or dry leaves.

Tip: You can get the right hedgehog food from pet supplies. With a voucher from Fressnapf you can get the products even cheaper.

In order for the defenseless animals to survive the winter, they need safe and dry shelter. If you would like to build this yourself, you should consider the following points:

And another note: once the hedgehog has retreated into his house and started hibernating, he should no longer be disturbed.

Source: Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V.

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