Did you know that there’s a harmless critter threatening to go extinct in your very own backyard? Hedgehog numbers have been declining at an incredibly alarming rate in the UK. Some estimates done about 60 years ago show a healthy hedgehog population of over 30 million strong. Compare that with today’s meagre 1 million and its clear the species is headed for a habitatless extinction.
Any disruption to the natural chain affects us too. So how do we play our part? Simple; by making your own backyard or garden hedgehog friendly. This includes giving the minihogs access, leaving out some food and water, as well as allowing bits of your garden to grow wild. But perhaps the most important step of all is to provide them with a place to call home.
Hedgehogs need a nice, warm, and safe place to hibernate during the winter, plus a shady roof to escape the heat of summer. This increases their chances of survival tenfold, especially if the house has some security features against predators like tunnels. Of course, there are some aspects to consider when buying a hedgehog house.
The first is the material. Wildlife charities all over the UK recommend going with wooden houses because they’re both natural and safer for the animals. Wood makes great insulation against the cold.
You’ll also have to consider the cost depending on how much you are willing to spend. We’d also advice going for a hedgehog house with a tunnel as well as several internal sections which make it even more difficult for larger predators to get a paw/claw in.
I’ve tested dozens of different hedgehog houses and done all the hard yards to find the best one. My family and I put the houses through rigorous weather condition tests, impact and durability experiments, and even pitted predators as large as dogs against the homes.
Below is a list of the Top 5 houses which not only survived, but seemed to attract the largest numbers of hedgehogs.
The Best Hedgehog House Reviews
1. Riverside Woodcraft Hedgehog House
Boasting of good old UK handmade solid wood construction, the Golden brown Hedgehog House is the latest design from Riverside Woodcraft. Compared to previous models, the house is roomier and sturdier. The composite wood roof is covered in recycled building slate to keep the rain out while the floors are sealed with resin for even more weatherproofing.
The interior is even more detailed with all the security features a hedgehog needs to feel safe. This includes a long tunnel at the entrance that leads into the second section of the house. Inside, there are two sections with more than enough room for a hibernating hedgehog to gestate and rear some hoglets. For cleaning purposes, the entire roof lifts from a hinge which is lockable.
What I like about it:
- Robust solid wood construction
- Long extended anti-predator tunnel
- More than enough room for multiple hedgehogs
2. The Hutch Company Predator Proof Hedgehog House
When winter comes around, homeless hedgehogs will appreciate the predator proof hibernation shelter from The Hutch Company. The home comes in a compact design and C24 graded timber construction. To guarantee more durability, the manufacturers incorporated a fixed base so the shelter cannot be toppled by larger animals.
The predator proof features include a long entrance tunnel that veers off into a different divided section at the end. The entire surface is twin treated with an antibacterial coating to protect the hedgehogs and prevent spread of diseases to your other pets. The roof is made of durable felt and can be completely removed for maintenance. You can easily secure it back on with safety fittings.
What I like about it:
- Fixed anti-topple base
- Antibacterial Marcide coating for disease prevention
- Removable felt roof
3. Wildlife World Hogilow Hedgehog
For a hedgehog, cribs don’t come any better than this. The Hogilow Hedgehog House is one of the most advanced, secure shelters from Wildlife World – a futuristic pad for modern day hogs. This clever house was actually featured on BBC’s Autumnwatch. All in all, the stylish Hogilow is engineered to be a safe, reliable and long lasting refuge for rehabilitating and releasing wild hogs.
The bungalow features a small, narrow entrance that moves from the porch and into a maze style entry before reaching the inner, safe sanctuary. The overhanging roof gives the hogs a protected place to look out. Above the structure is a swivel lid that moves to give easy access for cleaning, feeding and tending to the animals. The Hogilow is made with a plastic-timber design and screw construction for added strength and longevity.
What I like about it:
- Elaborate and stylish bungalow design
- Easy swivel lid offers seamless access
- Unique recycled plastic and timber construction
4. Igloo Hedgehog House – Wildlife World
Here’s a unique, igloo-shaped hedgehog house that blends into the environment and nature itself. The Igloo hog house from Wildlife World tries to mimic the natural habitat of the UK hedgehog as closely as possible. This includes everything from the materials used to the shape and design.
The Igloo is made from a round, painted steel frame that has been covered with a waterproof material and wicker. There’s also brush wood finishing with band decorations and moss trim coverings for a truly camouflaged look. The steel frame makes the igloo safe to hide in undergrowth where it can withstand some accidental forking and raking. However, you’ll need to peg the igloos down since the model is floorless.
What I like about it:
- Mimics hedgehogs natural shelter
- Robust steel frame for longevity
- Wicker and brushwood materials offer camouflage
5. Ruddings Wood Hedgehog Home
Sometimes, even the most standard shelters can make all the difference between survival and death for UK’s hedgehog population. So if you’re looking to play your part and save the hogs but barely have a budget to work on, then the wooden Hedgehog home from Ruddings Wood is a definite crowd favourite.
This shelter consists of solid wood construction with staining for weather protection. The roof which has been stepped and overlapped for additional weatherproofing is among its most attractive features. While Ruddings Wood didn’t install a tunnel as protection against predators, this translates to more room for a mother hog to raise an entire broods of young.
What I like about it:
- Ideal for the budget conscious homeowner
- Handmade Great Britain solid wood construction
- Larger roomier interior
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to make a hedgehog house out of a plastic box?
You don’t need fancy equipment to make a hedgehog house – a plastic box, some insulation tape and a tube or two will do the job!
- Firstly, make a tunnel using some scrap timber. Measure the width of the opening of your timber tunnel, then mark the same width on your plastic box – this will be the entrance to your hog house.
- Cut a hole the same size as the timber tunnel, then cover the cut edges with insulation tape to make sure they are not sharp.
- Next, drill some holes in the plastic box for ventilation, and you can also add some 25mm drainage pipe for added ventilation too.
- Finally, place the hedgehog house in its final position, add some suitable bedding (meadow hay is a good option, or you can pile in some old dried leaves).
Hedgehogs generally bring their own bedding, but it’s always good to give them a helping hand. Piling leaves, twigs and other small logs around the entrance to the hog house will make your garden visitor feel safe and secure, so go wild with the natural decor.
Q: When to put out a hedgehog house?
Hedgehogs are, sadly, pretty rare these days, so it may take time between when you put out your hog house and when you start to see visitors.
The best time to start getting your hog home ready is in the spring or summer, before they are ready for their winter hibernation, so they have time to get used to the house and prepare for winter sleeping in it.
Q: Where to put a hedgehog house?
Hedgehogs are actually pretty fussy about where they like to spend their time. They like peace and quiet, so it’s best to put their new home away from any areas of the garden which get heavy traffic. They also like to be warm and snuggly, so make sure the entrance is away from north or north/east winds to keep them cosy.
Hedgehogs like to be able to get out and forage, so if you have an untidy area of your garden then this is a great place for your hog house, as they can come out and root around in the undergrowth.
Hedgehogs have a large territory, so make sure that your hedgehog home has easy access to the home you have place in your garden; this will encourage them back and make sure that they have a safe place to sleep.