Introduction: Hedgehog Hibernation Box
A hedgehog hibernation box creates a safe place for wild hedgehogs to hibernate. If you place it outdoors anywhere rural or semi-rural, it is likely to be used by a hedgehog over the winter. It adds character to your garden and is best placed in a quiet shady area and covered in leaves or foliage. Anyone can make one with a few basic tools and materials.
Step 1: What You Will Need
You will up to 21 metres in length of 50 * 22mm untreated wooden planks. Do not worry if the thickness(the 22mm) is slightly different. It is important that the wood is untreated however, as the smell of treated wood may repel prospective hedgehogs.
About 125 40mm length screws - make sure they are less than twice the thickness of your wood. For example, 40mm is less two 22mm thick planks.
A hollow tube
About 10-15mm diameter and about 400mm length. This helps air flow through the box.
A small amount of netting is needed to go over the ends of the tube and stop it getting blocked.
Elastic bands and blue tack
Two elastic bands to attach the netting to the hollow tube. Blue tack to hold the tube in place.
About 1000 * 1500mm
Just a small amount of untreated hay to go in the box.
Leaves or foliage
To cover your hedgehog box, so it blends in nicely.
Saw, tape measure or long ruler, pencil, drill with a drill bit slightly narrower than your screws and appropriate screwdriver bit.
Step 2: Cut the Wood Into the Required Pieces
You need the following lengths of wood for the different parts.
12 planks of 356mm, or 400 – (2 * your plank thickness))
4 planks of 280mm
10 planks of 300mm
6 planks of 25mm
Front and back
10 planks of 300mm
4 planks of 105mm
4 planks of 280mm
Top and bottom
16 planks of 300mm
4 planks of 350mm.
1 plank of 25mm
Step 3: Make the Entrance Tunnel
Screw together 4 pairs of 300mm planks into 4 of the L shapes shown above. Drill holes where you want the screws to go before you screw them in with the srewdriver bit.
Attach the 4 L shapes and 2 more 300mm planks together into the structure shown. Do this by screwing them together using the 6 25mm pieces. The tunnel only needs to be held together at one end(as shown) at this point. The other end will be held together by how it is attached to the box.
The tunnel should be about 90-100mm wide, and 90-100mm high. Any bigger and predators such as cats will get in, but too small and hedgehogs may not fit through.
Step 4: Make the Front and Back
For the back, you must saw a small indent in side of two of the 300mm planks - so that when they fit together, your air tube can just fit through the gap without too much space. Now attach together these 2 planks and also 4 other 300mm planks using 2 280mm planks as shown above, to form the back.
Now attach together 4 300mm planks and also the 4 105mm planks using 2 280mm planks, this forms the front.
Step 5: Make the Sides
For each of the 2 sides, attach together 6 356mm planks using 2 280mm planks as shown.
Step 6: Make the Top and Bottom
For each of the top and bottom, attach together 8 300mm planks using 2 350mm planks. Note that in the picture, we had to compromise as we were running out of wood.
Step 7: Assemble the Box Part 1
You should now have the top, bottom, 2 sides, front, back and entrance tunnel completed.
Screw the front panel onto the bottom panel, this should be simple.
To screw the tunnel onto the front panel, put screws through from the inner side of the front panel into the end of the top and side planks of the tunnel. It is impossible to do this for the bottom of the tunnel, so you must use a 25mm piece to screw the underside of the bottom panel to the bottom of the tunnel. Now you should have something similar to the picture shown above.
Step 8: Assemble the Box Part 2
Now simply screw on the back and the sides. The top should not be screwed on, just place it on with the 2 attaching beams facing inwards, so that it cannot slide off.
Step 9: Add the Air Tube
Use elastic bands to attach the netting around both ends of the air tube.
Put the tube through the hole in the back, and blue tack it in place as shown. Make sure that the tube slopes out of the box so that any water does not drain into it.
Step 10: Install the Box
During autumn, place the box outside and fill it with untreated hay. Wrap tarpaulin over it, leaving the entrance tunnel and the air tube uncovered. Now cover the whole thing in your choice of leaves, soil, foliage etc... Again, make sure that the entrance and air hole are left uncovered. The box is now complete.
Step 11: Maintenance
Each year in early autumn, you should clean any old hay or waste from the box and put new hay in for the next hedgehog.