How to Make a Hedgehog House
Meet the newest member of our family of book carts, Hedgehog. This spikey chap likes wheeling around in the woods, eating worms, and looking after books for his human pals.
Our wooden hedgehog is house trained, but he does have many wild relatives who need your help this winter! We asked The Wildlife Trusts to share some expert advice on how to protect hedgehogs and their natural habitat. From building a simple hedgehog house with your children, to educating them about hoglets, help inspire a passion for nature and protecting the environment from an early age with this guide to everything you need to know about hedgehogs.
FACTS ABOUT HEDGEHOGS FOR KIDS
Cute, round and covered in spines, the hedgehog is one of the UK’s most familiar and much-loved wild animals. Hedgehogs are found across the UK in all sorts of habitats from gardens and hedgerows to parks and cemeteries; sometimes travelling between 1-2 km a night! Here are some other facts you might not know about these marvellous mammals!
- An adult hedgehog has up to 7,000 spines and a small, hidden tail.
- They can have litters of up to five young, and a baby hedgehog is called a hoglet.
- The collective noun for a group of hedgehogs is a prickle.
- Some hedgehogs are blonde! This colour mutation is called leucism and is thought to be caused by rare recessive genes.
- Hedgehogs can be noisy – identifiable by their loud snuffling, snorting and even hissing!
Unfortunately, hedgehogs are in trouble… Over the past 50 years we’ve seen declines in two thirds of the UK’s plant and animal species. Hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30 percent in just over 10 years, and there are now thought to be fewer than 1 million left in the UK.
However, there is lots you can do to help! Our gardens and greenspaces make up more than all of The Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves combined, so are vitally important in providing fabulous habitat for wildlife.
HOW TO PROTECT HEDGEHOGS
The best thing you can do to create a hedgehog-friendly garden, whether urban or rural, is to not be too tidy! Hedgehogs must feed intensively and be in great condition before they hibernate, which means feasting on their favourite beetles, earthworms and caterpillars. To have these creepy crawlies in abundance in our gardens, we need to leave lots of places for them to shelter and thrive such as in log piles, long grass and in different plants. Ditch slug pellets and avoid the use of pesticides, letting hedgehogs and other wildlife be your natural “pest” defence.
Providing nesting sites for our prickly friends will also help, as they look for places to hibernate between October and March. Log and leaf piles, wilderness areas and even purpose-built hedgehog homes make great places for them to rest and hibernate. Take a look at the activity sheets below to find out how to make your own. Simply click on the images to download and print.
And lastly, with bonfires and strimming high on the list of gardening jobs at this time of year, take extra care to look out for resting hogs.
Want more information about these wonderful creatures? We have advice on lots of other ways you can help hedgehogs, including how to make a hedgehog highway, and what to do if you find an injured hog out in the day. Download our free Wild About Gardens booklet here or visit our Wildlife Watch website to discover heaps more nature activities for kids.
A big thanks to Abi from The Wildlife Trusts for sharing this interesting guide. We hope you and your children have fun creating a hedgehog friendly garden!
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