Hedgehogs are an iconic part of our British countryside – but urbanisation and the resulting loss of habitat has left them struggling to find safe places to feed and shelter, and even sometimes choosing treacherous locations such as bonfires to hibernate.
One of the best ways in which you can help the hedgehog population is by adding a hedgehog home to your garden.
A hedgehog home provides a place for these nocturnal critters to escape cars, predators, garden tools and cold weather, and enables them to hibernate in safety. It also has the added bonus of attracting these fascinating creatures into your garden, which can be an entertaining and educational wildlife experience for your family.
These safe havens for hedgehogs don’t take up a lot of room and are usually designed to blend in with the natural look of your garden. Human visitors probably won’t even notice you have one, but your night time guests will, and they’ll be forever grateful for their new place to sleep, eat or breed. They’ll show their appreciation by helping to keep the slug and snail population down in your garden!
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So, which hedgehog house should you choose? To help you out, we’ve put together this buying guide to what we think are the UK’s five best hedgehog homes for your garden, rated according to factors such as size, sturdiness, predator-proofing and cost, as well as some handy tips for preparing and taking care of a hedgehog house.
Our best hedgehog home, approved by hundreds of hogs
This hedgehog house from The Hutch Company features an internal partition to divide the space and create a separate, out-of-view sleeping/feeding area – making it perfect for hibernation and hiding from predators.
It features a strong and sturdy timber construction, which will withstand the elements and which has been treated with an anti-bacterial coating to prevent the spread of disease among hedgehogs. There’s plenty of space inside for multiple hedgehogs to feed and shelter, and the house has a waterproof felt roof to protect them from all weathers.
The door opening is large enough to allow hedgehogs through but small enough to keep out most predators. Cats will struggle to get in and will find it even harder to reach the inner compartment (although it isn’t impossible), so it’s great if you want to leave cat food out for your hog friends.
The removable lid makes it easy for you to clean the home, as well as to add food and bedding to the interior if you desire. Another plus point is that the house arrives fully assembled, so you’re ready to go immediately, with no DIY assembly required!
Whilst this house isn’t the most affordable on our list, considering the quality of the design and materials used, we think it’s well worth the investment. This is a house that your hedgehogs will be able to call home for many years to come.
- Durable and sturdy construction.
- Spacious design (H26 x W34 x D40cm) encourages hedgehogs to enter.
- Large door (H12 x W13 cm) provides easy access.
- Internal partition creates a separate, out-of-view sleeping/eating area.
- Easy to clean – just remove the lid and wash out.
- Treated with an anti-bacterial coating to prevent the spread of disease.
- A bit pricier than similar designs.
- It’s possible (though unlikely) for cats to get in.
Small yet sturdy hedgehog house, for a great price!
If you’re looking for a more affordable option – perhaps your hedgehog population hasn’t yet made itself known, and you want to make sure the demand is there first – this Selections House makes a great hog starter home.
It features a sturdy wooden construction with a fixed base, which prevents it from moving in the wind or being dragged away by larger animals, like some of the more flimsy designs. The wood is untreated, which means there are no chemicals or fumes which can be harmful to hedgehogs.
One of the best things about this hedgehog home is its appearance – it has a natural bark roof, which will perfectly blend in with your log pile or hedgerow – or make an attractive feature in your garden.
Unfortunately, the bark roof can’t be removed, which means the only way for you to access the house is through the door. This can make cleaning and adding bedding difficult – although the house is pretty small, so it’s not too much of an issue.
What could be more of a problem though is that the small size and shallow depth, combined with a comparatively wide door opening, makes this house not overly defensive against predators – a fox wouldn’t have to stick his nose in very far to find your prickly friend.
- Solid construction with a sturdy base.
- Natural bark roof looks great and blends into the environment.
- Untreated wood means no harmful fumes.
- Our most affordable option.
- Small size, with a shallow depth – may not provide adequate protection from weather or predators.
- The fixed lid makes it difficult for you to access the inside.
A natural-looking wicker and rattan home, in a fun igloo shape
The unique shape of this Wildlife World Igloo House offers both a pleasing aesthetic and practical space for hedgehogs to shelter – making it the perfect well-rounded addition to your garden.
The igloo has a small entrance tunnel which is designed to deter larger predators such as foxes and badgers, and a deep dome shape to make it difficult for them to reach too far inside. This creates a safe haven for hedgehogs and family groups, such as mothers and hoglets.
Made from a strong steel frame to give it support, the house also has a waterproof, felted roof to protect it from the elements. This is all covered in brushwood with rattan bands, giving it a natural look that will blend into its environment.
It’s designed to provide shelter for hedgehogs, but if you want them to use it for hibernation, it’s recommended to add an additional brushwood cover over the top (not included). It’s also worth noting that, unlike the previous two models, this one doesn’t have a fixed base, and so although the structure is strong, it may require anchoring to the ground to prevent it being carried off by predators. We suggest using tent pegs.
Overall, this is another great, affordable hedgehog home from a very knowledgeable and environmentally-conscious company – you just might need to make some minor adjustments if you want it to withstand a harsh UK winter, and be a suitable hibernation spot.
- The steel frame gives the house good support.
- Small entrance tunnel to deter predators.
- Spacious enough for a family group.
- Withy bands and a moss trim give it a stylish, natural look.
- Not recommended for hibernation, unless an additional brushwood cover is placed over the top.
- No base – may need to be anchored down to protect from strong winds and predators.
Our priciest option – although still affordable, and the design features might make it worth the extra expense
This Deluxe Shelter from The Hutch Company is another well-designed hedgehog house that is sure to have your hogs fighting over your garden. It features a sturdy timber design with a fixed base and large floor plan, making it perfect for multiple hogs.
It has a durable roof designed to protect the occupants from all weather conditions. This can be removed, making it easy for you to add bedding and food to the house, and then locked back in place to prevent it from being dislodged by predators. There’s also a plastic ventilation tube to ensure a healthy flow of air in the main sleeping area (although it doesn’t add much to the appearance).
Perhaps the best thing about this house is the long anti-predator access tunnel. Whilst it still wouldn’t be impossible for a cat or smaller predator to get in – it’s worth bearing in mind that none of these hedgehog houses can guarantee that they won’t let other animals in – but features such as this tunnel do make it less likely.
In contrast to some of the other designs we’ve featured, the main sleeping area is far away from the door, offering greater peace of mind for hedgehogs. However, there is no internal partition to segregate the sleeping section, so it might get quite windy – try to angle the door towards a wall or hedge to prevent this.
Ultimately, although it’s not the most affordable option on our list, you’ll struggle to find another hedgehog house of this quality and with this many features designed to keep hogs happy and secure, at this price point.
- Large floor plan with long anti-predator access tunnel.
- The removable, lockable roof provides easy access for you, whilst keeping hedgehogs safe.
- Fixed base offers sturdiness.
- Ventilation tube for a healthy airflow.
- No internal partition to separate sleeping area.
- Not impossible for cats to get in.
A natural-looking hog house that will blend right into your garden
The natural brushwood and moss design of this dome-shaped Hogitat is perfect if you favour a natural look in your outside space. This wicker hedgehog home will blend into your garden and be almost indistinguishable from the surrounding undergrowth.
Not only that, but the natural design offers camouflage that will make it less obvious to predators, especially if you pile leaves around it too. A slightly protruding entrance offers some further protection from unwanted visitors, although it has to be said that there is room for improvement here – the addition of a tunnel would offer the hedgehogs a buffer between the door and their living quarters.
The house features a strong wireframe for support, which covers a large interior space, offering plenty of room for hedgehogs to eat and sleep. The lack of timber or a fixed base also makes it very lightweight, and easy to move around and reposition.
Unfortunately, the lightweight design also makes it more susceptible to interference from predators, strong winds or boisterous pets, and you will probably need to anchor it down, to prevent your hedgehogs being compromised.
If you don’t mind driving a few tent pegs into your lawn though, this is another stylish and practical option, that should make both you and your hogs very happy.
- Strong wireframe
- Natural brushwood and moss design offers great camouflage
- Large interior space
- No fixed base.
- No internal partitioning.
- Lightweight – will need to be anchored to secure it from predators.
What To Put In A Hedgehog House
In order for a hedgehog to seek shelter or hibernate in a hedgehog house, you should fill it with suitable bedding material, such as dried grass or leaves, into which they can borrow. Finding a space in which they feel warm and cosy is a vital part of hibernation.
If you want to tempt hedgehogs into the house, you can try putting a small amount of dog or cat food in a shallow bowl, and leaving it in the home (away from the door so that your neighbourhood cats will be less likely to steal it). Depending on the house, once a hedgehog has moved in, you might want to relocate the food to a separate feeding station, as they require a reasonable amount of space to eat.
The most important times to feed hedgehogs are either side of the hibernation season, so September/October and April, to help them build up and replenish their fat reserves. Leaving out fresh water at any time will also be appreciated.
Around your hedgehog house, you should try to pile up leaves, stones, wood and other natural materials, in order to further camouflage the shelter from predators. This will also attract food for the hedgehogs, such as slugs and snails. Angle the door of the house towards a fence or wall, to provide protection from the wind.
Once your hedgehog house is occupied, don’t add new bedding or move the house, as this could frighten the hogs and cause them to abandon the home, and the young they may have nested inside.
When To Clean Your Hedgehog House
It’s a good idea to clean your hedgehog house occasionally, in order to freshen it up and remove any mites or fleas that previous occupants may have left behind. The best times to clean your hedgehog house are in April and October, either side of the hibernating season.
The first step in the cleaning process is to make sure the house is vacant. You can find this out by leaving some paper in the doorway one night and checking to see if it’s been disturbed the next morning. If your hedgehog house has a removable lid, you can lift it up gently to check inside.
Once you’ve established there’s no one home, take the house and remove all existing bedding from inside. Wash out the inside of the house with boiling water, to kill any parasites who may have moved in. When you’re done, re-fill the box up to about halfway with hay or dried leaves, ready for your hedgehogs to mould into their new nest.
How To Look After Garden Hedgehogs
There are several steps you can take to make your garden safer and more appealing to hedgehogs. First, make sure to cover all drains and holes that they might fall into. If you have a pond, ensure there’s a ramp or way for them to get out should they decide to go for a swim. Make holes at the bottom of your fences to allow hedgehogs easy access to your garden.
Take care when using garden tools such as lawnmowers or strimmers, and refrain from building bonfires in your garden – or wait until the last minute to build them. Keep your garden free from netting and rubbish, which hedgehogs can become trapped in, and try to avoid using slug pellets and other poisons or weed killers, which can be harmful to hogs if ingested.
You can help your local hedgehog population by leaving food out for them, which will enable them to build fat reserves ready for hibernation. This is particularly important if it’s autumn and you have a small, juvenile hedgehog who is running out of time to fatten up before winter. The RSPCA recommend tinned dog or cat food (avoid fish-based versions), or dog or cat biscuits. You can also buy special hedgehog food pellets from wildlife suppliers and garden centres.
Hedgehogs will also appreciate you leaving out fresh water for them, in a shallow dish. You should not, however, leave milk – it’s a common misconception that milk is good for hedgehogs, as it can actually give them diarrhoea.
Finally, provide the materials hedgehogs need to build themselves a nest (leaves, log piles or a compost heap), or save them the trouble and get them a ready-made shelter, such as one of the hedgehog homes listed here. Position this house in a quiet, sheltered area, out of the wind, and wait for your new tenants to move in.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.