The Box was home-made and built during May 2020. The wood is a 15mm ply. I had the local hardware shop cut the pieces to size and I then assembled everything at home. Ideally the roof would be covered by a roofing felt material but I have initially installed it without this as I didn’t have any. As and when I can find a suitable material I’ll add it to the box. I didn’t treat the box, outside or inside with any wood protection as I didn’t want anything to discourage it’s use. Certainly the inside should never be treated and I worried that even treating the outside would put the hedgehogs off.
The design of the box is shown below.
I had some use from May to September but I was worried that the chamber was a little small and stuffy for hibernation and nesting. I wanted to add a few airholes into the box.
Therefore I made a small retrofit during September 2020 where I have added and airpipe on the rear face of the box and a serious of holes to the floor of the nesting chamber.
The air pipe comes out the back and points down, to prevent rain from entering. Also the protrusion inside the box is covered with a fine mesh. This should stop the airpipe being used as an entry point for either small mammals or large insects.
The box is located in the back garden of the house. In May 2020 I installed it in a position offering a lot of shelter under a mature winter Jasmin bush. The entrance hole of the box was south facing.
Following the retrofit in September 2020 I have moved it into the corner location where I previously had the hedgehog igloo house. I seemed to get quite a lot of use in this location so I’m hoping that it will be good for the hibernation season. The box will be well covered by leaves and insulating material and the entrance hole is now West facing.
A video camera of the type shown below is installed in the box to offer a view of the ‘nesting chamber’.
Unlike the other cameras I have used in the garden it is a wired version. The image quality is good, there are no problems of wireless reception, but a cable needed to be installed and concealed from the house to the box. This required a cable run of around 20m. (I bought the camera with a 50m extension cable, also shown above).
The Box was first installed in the garden on Saturday 16th May 2020. Prior to this I had an igloo style hedgehog house in the garden for around the last 2 years.
The igloo house was installed right in the corner of the garden and t was used fairly regularly although never for nesting. It wouldn’t have been possible to install a camera in this house and also as it was showing considerable wear after 2 years I thought to remove it and replace it with the new box.
The absolute ambition for the hedgehog box is for it to be used as a nesting box, something which could then be captured and followed on the video camera. It would also be interesting to see the hibernation period and for exactly how long the hedgehogs hibernate and how active they are during the winter.
What I have managed to record during Spring and Summer 2020 is that the box has been used, sometimes for short stays and occasionally all day.
However thus far there have been no signs of nesting.