Homemade DIY hedgehog house hedgehog box
Helping hedgehogs

Build a hedgehog house

DIY hedgehog house. Give your prickly garden visitor a helping hand by creating this sturdy des-res. It will make a cosy Winter hibernation home or a snug Summer nest.

The great news is that hedgehogs do definitely use artificial hedgehog houses – read more about that here.

Joe building the hedgehog house

Every rehabilitated hedgehog that is released from my rescue is provided with one of these wooden houses to help them settle into their new home. I always recommend wooden boxes because they are more predator and element proof and will last longer. Some hedgehogs will remain living in them but others will continue their search for the perfect ‘natural’ residence – they can be fussy creatures! You can always use it as a feeding station if no-one makes it their permanent home….

The entrance tunnel helps to keep out predators as well as wind and rain.

You will need:

  • A DIY guru who can translate the diagram into reality – ESSENTIAL!
  • Exterior grade plywood or OSBC board (untreated)
  • Wooden battens
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Hinges (for lid)
  • Roofing felt  (recommended)
  • Fence paint (for exterior)

Plan and dimensions


Plan and dimensions for the hedgehog house


The completed house before the exterior is painted. Drill some air holes at the top of the side walls to help aid ventilation


Once you’ve built the house, don’t treat the wood with anything nasty like creosote – these can be toxic to hedgehogs. You can paint the exterior with fence paint to prolong its life. Drill some ventilation holes towards the top of the side walls.

Fill the house with some hay as a ‘new home’ gift for your spiky visitor. You can also place some piles of hay around your garden underneath something to keep it dry and then they can add more to their nest whenever they like.

Siting your hedgehog house

Follow these tips to site your hedgehog house and increase your chances of a prickly resident.

  • Face the entrance away from the prevailing weather.
  • Place it in a quiet area that is unlikely to be disturbed.
  • Insulate the house and provide extra protection from the weather by covering it with branches/twigs/leaves.
  • Don’t treat the wood with strong chemicals like creosote.
  • Clean it out in Spring after the hibernation period and before nesting begins (late April).
  • Don’t line it with newspaper as this tends to go soggy.
Hedgehog house location
Your hedgehog box should be sited underneath cover in a quiet part of the garden. Face the entrance towards a wall or fence.

You can also watch my video on where to place the hedgehog box. This will give you the best chance of attracting a resident. Research indicates that how the box is sited is very important.

You can also join me on a visit to my York wildlife garden to see where I site my hedgehog boxes and ask me everything you would like to know about how to help hedgehogs. Find out about upcoming events here.

UPDATE Spring 2018. I would recommend going ahead with the felt roof covering or placing a sheet of plastic over the house before covering it with natural materials. I have found that the recent very wet weather has managed to penetrate the hedgehog boxes made without these precautions….

Good luck and please share your photos when you’ve completed your project.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York. My work is entirely self funded.  If you have found my advice helpful, you can find out more about my work here and also how to support it.

I also make handmade silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to support my work – please check out my online shop at www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com.

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog
Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

32 thoughts on “Build a hedgehog house”

  1. i think this would be a great idea for the hedgehogs they will be warm and cozy in there new little home.

  2. I am a new hedgehog owner & I appreciate reading all your tips & suggestions , Many thanks

  3. Sorry but you dont know the first thing about Hedgehog boxes. They must have two doors so that one can escape if it is boxed in by a bigger hog.

  4. In early autumn, I stack leftover bags of compost around the hedgehog castles, for defense and insulation. (And, because they have to go somewhere.)

  5. I love the line: “A DIY guru who can translate the diagram into reality – ESSENTIAL!” How true…but I would always encourage beginners not to fear on such a simple project. Perhaps by completing it, you’ll gain the confidence to become a DIY Guru! Very detailed tips and straightforward economical approach. We might just try the MK2 hedgehog house ourselves at home. Thanks for sharing. (P.s. it might be an idea to run a live habitat comparison between a retail hedgehog house vs. the DIY version to see how the hedgies vote with their feet. What do you think?)

  6. Very interesting Ken. We haven’t ever tested with a hose but I would always advise that hedgehog houses are located in sheltered spots under evergreen vegetation and covered with additional cover e.g. twigs, leaves etc which should help provide additional shelter……

  7. re.your build a box,on your plan the lid fits down the sides of the box,on photo it don’t, if you run a hose on top of box the water will follow felt around and seep through gap between roof and wall of box,and may i thank you for building box and caring for our little friends.ken west midlands.

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