With winter fast approaching, hedgehogs and frogs are stocking up on food for hibernation. We all know Irish winters are notorious for being cold and wet with the occasional blanket of snow. As we prepare for this ourselves, with a warm and cosy house for the winter, does it cross your mind where do animals stay during these months?
Making a hotel for hedgehogs and frogs for the winter is a great way of ensuring these animals have a warm and cosy place to stay during winter.
Hedgehogs are great for your garden
At this time of the year hedgehogs aren’t hibernating yet and are eating a lot. They are great for the garden because they eat a lot of slugs as a part of their diet. Which means less slugs in your garden.
Hedgehog hotels are quick and easy to make
In late October they tend to root around and look for places to net for the winter. The idea is you build your own hedgehog hotel. It is quick and very easy to do! Most of the time they can be easily made out of 2 or 3 bricks with a piece of wood laid on top to make a cave. You can surround the cave with lots of leaves and twiggy branches from your hedging or with leaves and chippings form tidying up your garden.
Don’t forget to leave an entrance for them roughly around 4 to 5 inches wide. Put plenty of layers on top and around the cave to make it a frost free environment for the hedgehogs to stay for the winter.
The best place for the hotel?
They would naturally prefer to be in dark places, under the hedge or at the back of a garden shed would be an ideal place for them. They also need a place where they feel safe and can’t be dug out by foxes and dogs. So try to make sure they are shoved underneath somewhere they can’t get them.
You should also resist the temptation to check in on your hotel guest as they hate to be disturbed.
Quick and easy to make frog hotels
The female frog tends to hibernate near the pound environment, close enough to the water but outside the water. They like bricks stacked in a scattered manner, as if they were dumped on the ground by a wheel barrow. They will climb into the crack, make sure there are a few entrances for them. Similar to hedgehogs it will be like a cave for them.
The male frogs hibernate in or around the pond itself. The males wake up in the spring time, they start croaking and the females hear it and are then attracted to the pound to lay their egg spawn.
The best place for a frog hotel
Make sure the cave is somewhere frost free, underneath a hedge or near a shed if that’s available.
Top Tip: If you see a hedgehog in your garden in winter, it’s probably too underweight to hibernate, and needs feeding. Leave out some food and water every night until it’s no longer taken. Tinned cat or dog food is ideal and in jelly rather than gravy.