Well, not quite fifty – but there is a range of methods seen in these YouTube videos on the apparently simple project of how to build a hedgehog house.
Sometimes one gets the impression that this is a much much more ecologically and environmentally aware age than, say, twenty or thirty or forty years ago. This may be true of the number of people who self-identify as someone who “cares about nature” and conservation, or consumer preferences in terms of environmental-friendliness being a popular marketing approach. In terms of species loss and biodiversity decline, however, recent years have seen many species take a pummelling – and I don’t think this can be seen as the legacy of earlier decades. Insect numbers are in a dramatic decline over recent years.And “ordinary” species of the British Isles such as the hedgehog are also declining steeply.
Building a hedgehog home is something you can do to help hedgehogs. Hedgehog Street, a British initiative jointly run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, point out that no matter how lovely your hedgehog home is, if there isn’t access for hedgehogs to your garden than there is no point. Hedgehog street also point out that a natural feature is a very good way of encouraging hedgehogs to stay:
The best way to provide a nesting option for hedgehogs is by creating a natural feature, such as a compost heap or log pile, as this has the added benefit of encouraging insect prey too. Artificial hedgehog houses (or hibernacula) are also used by hedgehogs and can be great fun to make.
If you leave a messy patch in a quiet undisturbed area of your garden then hedgehogs might make their own nest there either to hibernate in or to rear their young. However, if you want to improve your chances of having a resident hedgehog you could either buy or make them a home.
There are a plethora of how-to videos on YouTube on hibernaculum (singlular of hibernacula -which seems to be a hibernation chamber for any creature) construction. Much the most straightforward is this from Wildlife Connections at Chester Zoo, very much of the “cut a few holes in a cardboard box” school:
You won’t be that surprised that the above approach is the one I tried with my children yesterday evening. Here’s another straightforward, child focused holes-in-a-box-with-a-bag-on-top video:
Here’s nice video that, aside from an echoey quality to the narration which is a bit distrating, is quite entertainingly dinky and is a variation on the cardboard box with a few neat features added from the YouTube account Alice Loves Internet:
Much, much more elaborate approaches are possible. This video from the woodwork/upcycling site Rag’n’Bone Brown is entertainingly produced – and the narrator assures us that it took “two hours from start to finish” – but as it involves jig-saws, belt sanders, bitumen paint and an impressive variety of woods this is something that I don’t think I’ll be knocking off in anything like two hours:
Finally (for now) here’s a Danish approach that is extremely thorough and well-insulated -I will leave the viewer to judge the degree of equipment and effort required.