The guys at Ark Wildlife are always striving to design and create new products very much with wildlife in mind and when they asked me if I would like to take a look at their new hedgehog boxes, I was more than happy! Two huge boxes appeared last week and I unpacked them to find some very good looking hoggy boxes…. perfect for my patch.
We are heading fast toward hedgehog hibernation and some of the larger individuals may well already have found that cosy nook to nestle in before the cold winter temperatures hit our shores. One of the boxes I have been sent is designed for hibernating / breeding hedgehogs and it certainly looks good at first glance; sturdy and well made with generous proportions.
A larger box like this gives the opportunity for plenty of nesting materials to be brought in, all of which increases the insulation properties of the bedding making for a more comfortable hibernation… and in extreme weather conditions where temperatures drop really low, that added insulation could be the difference between life and death. A winter or two out in damp and cold conditions can really take its toll on a hedgehog box, especially on the roof and this is where this new one looks like it might be a winner! The roof is made from a material called EcoSheet. It is created from 100% recycled plastics and its sturdiness and thickness suggests it will be an excellent protection from the elements; both cold and wet.
It is good and spacious inside and built with a good grade wood (21mm) with added ventilation holes. This will help cut down on condensation inside the box. The base also has uneven feet so as to create a slope so water does not puddle. Recessed hinges in the roof also ensure that no water enters the box when it is opened. The entrance hole is just 11.5cm, to stop cats and other predators entering the box.
A study clasp and catch means the box can be shut with no risk of anything opening it…
I am impressed with this box and feel, with it 5 year eco friendly rot treatment, it will offer a superb retreat for hibernating hedgehogs… let’s hope I get some takers in the WildlifeKate patch.
The second box interested me even more as it has been designed for feeding hedgehogs. Low and flat to the ground, even my skinny siameses will struggle to get in here! Cats can be the biggest problem when you are feeding hedgehogs in a garden environment and this has been designed to keep them at bay!
The two entrances are an excellent idea and our prickly friends can get rather aggressive when two are in a confined space… especially when one curls up in front of the exit so the 2nd one cannot escape (as has happened in my feeding station!)
A great design feature is the open base. Hedgehogs are pretty messy eaters and often poo in the feeding station as well! It can be difficult to keep clean. The open base to this means you can clean the ground on which it is placed, or put a piece of old board underneath (which I have done) and then just discard it or remove it to clean.
Although it is late in the season, I wanted to set this up in my patch. I mounted a small black and white camera inside, so I can monitor if anything comes in. Realistically, this is going to get a better trial next season as it will replace my current box.
Although I have only put one bowl in there, there is plenty of room for a couple of bowls of food and one of water. Also enough room for at least a couple of hedgehogs!
Thank you to Ark Wildlife for sending these out to me. These products are available to buy on their website at www.arkwildlife.co.uk