How to build a hedgehog house

30 September 2018 | Posted in Charlotte Owen , mammals
How to build a hedgehog house
Hedgehog house © Derek Middleton

By Charlotte Owen

WildCall Officer

Natural features like log piles and compost heaps make excellent hedgehog nesting sites - and provide lots of invertebrate food, too - but if you’d like to make a home for hedgehogs, these simple instructions will help. 

Don’t forget – hedgehogs need to be able to get into your garden to make the most of the homes that you provide, so you might need to cut a small hole at the base of your fence or dig a channel underneath to create access points.

Simple hedgehog house Repurpose a spare plastic storage box, planter or similar container

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  • Flip your box upside down – if it has a lid, take it off
  • Cut a small entrance hole in one side (13cm x 13cm is big enough) and cover any sharp edges with tape, so the doorway is safe to pass through
  • Cut a narrow air vent or drill some ventiliation holes into each side of the box
  • Place your box in a quiet, sheltered location – ideally against a bank, fence or wall, under thick vegetation or behind a shed.  Make sure the entrance doesn’t face north or north-east (to avoid a cold draft)
  • Put in a good layer of dry leaf litter, grass or hay for cosy bedding
  • Cover the house with plastic sheeting – old compost sacks are great – and weigh this down by stacking logs or adding a layer of soil, twigs and leaves for extra insulation
  • Tip: place a twig over the entrance and if it’s been moved you’ll know someone has moved in

Hedgehogs love a home-made house and they can be made from whatever materials you have to hand, from stacked bricks and paving slabs to cut-down rain barrels – get creative!


Deluxe hedgehog house
Build a wooden home from scratch

Hedgehog House © The Wildlife Trusts

Hedgehog House © The Wildlife Trusts

© The Wildlife Trusts

You will need:

  • Hammer and nails 
  • 2 metal hinges
  • Soil
  • Dry leaves
  • Hay, straw or dry grass
  • Newspapers
  • Polythene sheeting
  • 20 mm untreated FSC plywood boards (birch is ideal) cut to the sizes shown:

Build a hedgehog house wood dimensions illustration

  • Cut your plywood to the dimensions shown above Tip: don’t use creosote or any other form of wood treatment as this may be harmful to your new residents
  • Attach the feet to the base first, one foot in each corner - these help to stop the base from getting damp and rotting
  • Assemble the main chamber, then the entrance tunnel - the tunnel helps keep any resident hedgehogs safe from predators
  • Slot in the entrance tunnel at an angle, so that it makes a ramp
  • Tip: cover the roof of the main chamber and entrance tunnel with roofing felt to make it more weatherproof
  • Line the inside with a thick layer of newspaper, then add plenty of leaves and dry grass as bedding
  • Place your assembled house in sheltered, shady spot - ideally against a bank, fence or wall, under thick vegetation or behind a shed.  Make sure the entrance doesn’t face north or north-east (to avoid a cold draft)
  • Cover the house with plastic sheeting – old compost sacks are great – and weigh this down by stacking logs or adding a layer of soil, twigs and leaves for extra insulation
  • Tip: place a twig over the entrance, and if it’s been moved you’ll know someone has moved in 

If you need to clean out your hedgehog house, it’s best to do this in March or April – after hedgehogs have emerged from hibernation but before the start of the breeding season, when a mother hedgehog may take up residence to rear her hoglets.

Help protect our hedgehogs by becoming a Sussex Wildlife Trust member

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