How to give a hedgehog a home

A quick guide to help Britain’s favourite mammal thrive in your back garden.

Birmingham City University is taking part in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme, a team of staff and students are completing a number of initiatives to make BCU campuses a safe space for hedgehogs.

Want to get involved from home? Your garden, big or small, can easily become a safe haven for a hedgehog looking for a home. Hedgehogs live in most parts of Britain, both in rural and urban areas, and so no matter where you live, your garden can be turned into a hedgehog home in three easy steps!

1. Invite the hedgehogs in

Every night the average hedgehog travels one mile in search of a perfect resting place or mate. Closed gardens and property can often get in the way of their journey. Opening up your garden by creating a ‘hedgehog highway’ is a simple way to get hedgehogs away from the danger of busy roads and open spaces and into the safety of your garden.

Making a hedgehog highway is as simple as making a small hole either side of the fence or wall that surrounds your garden. The holes should be about 13cm x 13cm, which is big enough for any hedgehog to get through.

Remember to talk to your neighbours too and encourage them to create a hedgehog highway. Who knows, you could encourage all your neighbours to have a hedgehog highway that runs all the way down your road for hedgehogs to travel through safely!

2. Invite them for dinner

A hedgehog can walk all night in search for food, putting out a shallow bowl of water and small bowl of food can make their search an easy one. Hedgehogs mainly eat bugs but putting out some meaty dog or cat food, cat biscuits or hedgehog food can supplement their diet and make sure they get all the protein and nutrients that they need.

They may eat their dinner and move on or settle down and stay for the night!

3. Invite them to stay the night (or longer!)

Want to create a more permanent home for hedgehogs? They will need a nest to settle down in and potentially use for hibernation in the winter. Hedgehogs like a durable, insulated and humid home to keep them safe and warm during the colder months.

A hedgehog can find comfort in a simple natural feature such as a log pile, compost heap or an undisturbed messy patch of garden. You can also buy or build a hedgehog home.

A simple way to build a hedgehog home is to take a planter, plastic storage box or milk crate with holes drilled in and turn this upside down. Create a 13cm x 13cm entrance for your hedgehogs to crawl in and provide some dry leaves for bedding. You can simply cover the house with a plastic sheet and some more leaves, soil or grass cuttings and you will have a rustic but cosy hedgehog hotel!

You can find more information and guidance on the Hedgehog Street website.