With hedgehog awareness week upon us again (3rd – 9th June), I thought it was finally time to write up about the help we are offering our spiky friends. You can read more about hedgehog awareness week and what we can all do to help at this link – Hedgehog Awareness Week 2020.
If you are keen to just see the camera recordings then please checkout and follow our YouTube channel, linked below. Hedgehog Camera
We are very fortunate that our home backs on to a fabulous little nature reserve. With our latest garden renovation, I was keen to make sure our garden is not only accessible to wildlife but is also the perfect habitat for them to thrive. I was especially keen to build in some form of hedgehog friendly area for our cute snuffling friends. Coupled with this I wanted to make sure that any changes we made would still allow hedgehogs to easily navigate our garden, so building 6ft high fences and concrete barriers were definitely off the list!
The internet is a rich mine of information for those wanting to look after hedgehogs in their garden – the brilliantly named Hedgehog Street and The Hedgehog Preservation Society to name a couple. As a starting point, we decided to build a hedgehog box and, with my techy head firmly on my shoulders, a box that could integrate some form of camera inside.
The box itself was built using the instructions from The Wildlife Trust – Build a hedgehog house. The guide is easy to follow and could be part of a fun project with the kids too! For the wood, we found an 18mm hardwood plywood sheet in our local hardware shop that did the trick. With our materials assembled, we set about making our very own jigsaw puzzle.
The construction was straightforward – a few screws here and there and we were built! The only slightly tricky bit was attaching the hinged lid to the box itself, so a few extra helping hands would have been good! Having had the box for a little while now, I feel that this could better be described as a feeding station, as it is quite big for a small hedgehog. Come Autumn the hedgehog would have to collate a whole tree’s worth of leaves to make our box a cosy hibernation spot, but I live in hope this may still happen!
Where does it go?
Our next dilemma was where to locate our hedgehog residence. Nature had already fortunately helped us here with the prevailing westerly winds having kindly destroyed a small part of the fence, which coincidentally was big enough for one of our spiky friends to fit through. The gap in the fence sat next to a quiet spot in the back left corner of the garden so our decision was made. Not wanting our box to stick out like a sore thumb, I also spent a little time covering it with the various garden debris as camouflage.
At this point our wildlife camera had been placed on order and not wanting to keep our hedgehogs waiting, we decided to put the box out anyway. As a little encouragement (bribery), we prepped it with a small feeding dish loaded with some tasty hedgehog food, placed a water bowl just outside the box and waited….
I’m going to cover the technical side of the camera box in the next article, including the equipment we used and how we set it up for recording and streaming to YouTube.