In just twenty years, the hedgehog population has declined by two-thirds in France. If we remain spectators of its decline, the small mammal is doomed to disappear from our countryside. So let’s be actors in its survival by making a shelter for it to endure the winter! Hedgehog hut, manual.
Why welcome a hedgehog in your garden?
It is very important to help this touching ball of spades to two reasons major:
- The hedgehog is an endangered species. In the fall, hedgehogs prepare for the arrival of the cold by accumulating fat and seeking shelter to hibernate. Their survival largely depends on these two conditions. These friendly mammals really need our assistance because the figures are enlightening: every year, a million of them die crushed on the roads in France; 70% of little hedgehogs die before their first birthday, while the normal longevity of this species is 7-10 years. With road traffic, pesticides represent one of the main causes of the death of the hedgehog (after being poisoned by the ingestion of a slug or insects themselves poisoned);
- The hedgehog is a friend of the gardener. In the garden and vegetable patch, the hedgehog asserts its qualities as a predator by attacking slugs, snails but also insects such as grasshoppers, locusts, beetles, caterpillars, spiders, earwigs, centipedes, earthworms and other larvae that can attack crops. No need to use pesticides anymore thanks to this effective aid which eats certain pests!
An easy-to-build hedgehog house
The most simple to build a hedgehog hut is to collect a large crate vegetables, then proceed to the following steps:
- Turn the crate over and cut an entrance to the size of the animal to facilitate access. The opening should be wide enough to let it in but too narrow for a cat or dog to enter;
- Briefly fill the crate with leaves dry (if they are damp or wet, dry them);
- Do not arrange the interior because your tenant will shape it to his liking by rolling in;
- Cover the top of the crate with a good layer of leaves to prevent rain from entering;
- Ballast the roof with a material that will not fly off: large stone, logs, boards, plywood sheets, slates, tiles…;
- Leave a bunch of leaves, twigs or branches near the entrance so the animal can polish its interior decoration.
A more elaborate hedgehog hut
The store offers shelters specially dedicated to hedgehogs from € 20. On the internet, you will also find plans and instructions for making your own cabins. fixed and more sophisticated with various materials and tools: wooden planks, nails, screws, drill. These shelters, however, require more time than a simple crate as well as a little DIY know-how.
Trick : rather demanding, the hedgehog spends a lot of time looking for a suitable habitat. Don’t be offended if he sulks your cabin. In this case, leave it a bunch of leaves, branches, straw or twigs near a hedge with which it can build its nest without difficulty. Remember to feed and water it.
Where to install the hedgehog hut?
The finished hut is sheltered from the wind, in a place calm and isolated. For the hedgehog, a welcoming garden is one that protects it from dangers potential, ideally under a thick hedge allowing it to hide, to eat quietly, but also to escape its main predators (dogs, foxes, cats, raptors, mustelids…). The mammal likes wild corners, such as tangles of brambles inaccessible to any other animal.
Precautions to take in your garden: the products chemical anti-slugs should be avoided and you will avoid leaving bags lying around plastic in which he could suffocate.
How to feed hedgehogs?
You can supply the hedgehogs with food intended for domestic animals: kibble or mash for dogs or cats made with meat. It is possible to complete their menu with leftover food such as chicken or ham but also with well-cooked carrots, fresh fruits (banana, apricot, peach, strawberry, apple, pear…) and oleaginous fruits such as walnuts and almonds. Be careful not to give them products containing cow milk likely to cause them fatal diarrhea. The animal also likes to rummage in compost heaps to glean its pittance. The food boost must be confined to the periods of first cold (September, October) to help it build up the layer of fat essential for winter and spring, when it comes out of hibernation. You can also offer him a small bowl ofwater shallow to avoid drowning.
To know : the hedgehog is a species protected whose possession and transport are prohibited. If you find an injured or sick subject, put it in a warm place (with rags, blankets) and sheltered in a cardboard box before contacting the French Biodiversity Office or an association. local of animal protection which can relay to a care center.