How to clean your hedgehog house
Mid Spring is a great time to clean out hedgehog hibernation boxes ready for the Summer nesting period. You can also check and make any repairs at the same time.
The best time to clean your hedgehog boxes is normally in April. This is usually after hibernation but before the nesting period begins. Here is my step by step guide to what to do.
I recommend a sturdy wooden hedgehog box like this one. It provides the best protection against the elements and predators. Many commercially available hedgehog boxes are produced by people who have never seen a hedgehog because the dimensions are way too small and they are too flimsy to last long.
Check your hedgehog box is empty
You can place a little hay or a twig in the entrance to the house. If it is moved, you know something is using it. To know for sure, use a night camera. If you aren’t sure, be very gentle when moving the box and open the lid to take a little peak. Make sure you wear thick gloves whilst cleaning the hedgehog box.
Remove the old contents
Remove the current contents of the box.
Sweep out the hedgehog box
Clean out any loose material from the inside.
Clean the hedgehog house
I recommend boiling water. This will kill any parasites and bacteria. Many cleaning products (including Dettol) are toxic to hedgehogs (and other creatures). If you need to use anything else, I would only recommend a veterinary approved or pet-safe rabbit hutch cleaner which is non-toxic.
Dry the hedgehog box thoroughly
If it is a sunny day you can leave it outside or place it somewhere warm to dry out.
Replace the contents of the box
I recommend using fresh, dry hay. Hedgehogs will add leaves and other materials to the nest. You can also leave hay around the garden underneath something to keep it dry and then hedgehogs can choose material to add to their nest at any time. Also leave long areas of grass that the hedgehog can tear off for its nest. I don’t use newspaper in the hedgehog box because this can go soggy.
Place your hedgehog house back
Place your hedgehog box back under cover. If your box has not been used in its previous location, it may be worth considering relocating it. How the box is sited is crucial for the chances of it being used by a hedgehog. Read my blog for more information and a video showing how to locate your hedgehog house.
I run a hedgehog hospital in York, England. You can read more about me and how to support my work. Like all wildlife rescues, my work is entirely self-funded. If you have found this information useful, please consider making a donation or checking out my silver nature jewellery that raises vital funds for my work – you can visit my shop here.