20The hedgehog needs a dry and safe shelter in winter.
The most natural way is to provide the hedgehog with a suitable opportunity in a corner of the garden on a permanent basis. This is not complex and mostly the materials that you have in the garden anyway are sufficient.
These are in the main:
- or brushwood
A hedgehog castle is something like an igloo made of leaves and branches. You build a dome with a cavity and an entrance. First lay out the floor on which the cavity is to be with a few stones, sand or wooden boards so that there is no direct contact with the floor.
Put a few branches over it so that a hollow is created, it is enough if the hollow is knee high. You can put a few leaves in the cavity, but basically the hedgehog will take care of this himself and pad it out as he sees fit.
Now put on some finer branches, a thick layer of leaves over it and finally again with a few branches placed over it to ensure that the leaves are not carried away by storm and wind. The hedgehog castle must have a certain strength.
The dimensions are approximately in the finished state 1.5m x 1.5m and 1 meter high. The cavity itself should be about 0.5m square or diameter. Of course, this can vary and must also be adapted to the local conditions. In any case the cavity should not be much smaller.
If you are worried that the cavity could collapse, you can place a hedgehog house there or build something out of stones and kerbstones.
The location is the most important. If the hedgehog house is in a depression or hollow where water can collect, the hedgehog will not move in and if it does, you have not done anything good for the hedgehog, on the contrary.
The better protected from the wind and the weather, the safer the hedgehog’s nest will be.
You can make it easier to build by placing the hedgehog’s lodge under or against a hedge or shrubbery. Then the whole construction holds better and he is also not a foreign body in the garden.
If the garden is surrounded by a fine-meshed fence, it is very likely that no hedgehog will find his way in. Either you create some entrances or you build the hedgehog castle outside the fence.
Remember, such a hedgehog burrow must remain standing for a long time. If the burrow has to be removed in early spring the hedgehog is still in hibernation.
Repairs to the hedgehog’s burrow should be made annually. It is often said that June is the best time. In July the hedgehogs start to have their offspring, August is the month with the most offspring – approx. 60% of all hedgehogs give birth in this month.
We recommend autumn, possibly. October to carry out this repair work. Firstly, there is enough foliage and above all possible birds are not disturbed in their breeding or even destroyed the nest.
Habitat hedgehog castle
If you leave the pile lying around, you not only have a hedgehog hideout, but in the course of time the structure will also be populated by other co-inhabitants.
It is not unusual to see toads, slow worms, lizards, shrews, weasels and small birds. The wren or the robin like to build their nests in these piles. This hedgehog house is also interesting for insects.
Over the years a lot of plants will grow around the pile, seeds from nature brought in by animals via droppings or feathers. As the pile collapses in the course of time, it can be supplemented from time to time. It is best to do this in the autumn when the birds have finished breeding.
Hedgehogs are under strict protection. It is forbidden to destroy the shelters, trap or injure or kill hedgehogs. Only clearly sick or injured animals may be taken in.
Hedgehogs which can be seen in winter are clearly ill. Young hedgehogs that can be seen in winter are looking for food. It is better to offer the hedgehog food (dog and cat food) than to trap it. If in doubt ask the local council for help or contact your nearest vet or hedgehog rescue center.
If you find it difficult to set up such a corner, you can also use a hedgehog house.
Have fun making a hedgehog hotel with subtenants.
Hedgehog castle as a school project of the Furst-Johann-Ludwig-School of the town Hadamar in the district Limburg-Weilburg