the other project the kids and I took on this last weekend was the building of a hedgehog house, in the (vain?) hope that our allotment would gain its own resident hedgehog. To be honest there are a number of places on the allotment site where a hedgehog could lie up undisturbed for months on end, so there’s no real reason they should come and find a home on my plot (especially as its quite near the kid’s tipi, hardly the most peaceful place for a small animal.)
But all these things notwithstanding, we made a hedgehog house for a little hibernating creature, and we’re hoping its gets occupied. In case you’re thinking about doing something similar, here’s how it was accomplished…
I started with an old homebrew barrel which I found dumped, I cut it roughly in half and made a wide doorway, so it looked like this…
You’ll notice the hole at the back of the barrel where there would have been some sort of tap at one stage. This is useful because the hedgehog house needs ventilation in order not to suffocate said small spiky creature.
So the half barrel has quite a low profile, and sits nicely on the ground, the kids and I found a nice sheltered place for it, with the bonus of a number of slugs living in the vicinity (not hard to find slugs on our plot).
I shoved some straw inside the half barrel, and put a tube on to the little hole at the back of the barrel, so that the ventilation wouldnt be blocked up by the earth when we covered the barrel over.
Which is what we did next, first covering the half barrel with earth, and then with branches and leaves etc, to give it a fairly natural appearance.
I should say that I also made an entrance tunnel, to give the house a bit of protection from intruders and elements and earth fall, the tunnel was basically just three pieces of wood crudely nailed together and plonked in front of the half barrel.
The result is a warm and safe little hedgehog house, detatched, composting loo…
Only problem is that it is a little overlooked, and the neighbours although very friendly can be a bit boisterous, especially when catapults and bows and arrows are brought into the equation, however your average hibernatign hedgehog shouldnt have too much to worry about.
The house is after all pretty discreet, and I think it represents a superb residential opportunity for a perambulating nocturnal small mammal.
In all seriousness, we should be encouraging a wide variety of wildlife in our gardens, hedgehogs are one of the nicer ones, and with a bit of luck spring could even see a few baby hedgehogs in residence (dont tell the foxes).
Next habitat job – the pond.