Make a home for wildlife
All sorts of animals, bugs and birds need homes and most choose to build very different ones. If you're going to build a home for one, you'll have to think about what they need and want from it, and why.
To help you do no. 36 of our '50 things to do before you're 11¾' activities: make a home for wildlife, you're going to have to think about a few things first.
We've put together a quick list that might help you make up your mind about what sort of creature you're going to build for and what you're going to build for them.
What are you building a house for?
You can obviously build a home for any wildlife you think of, but it's probably best to go with smaller ones for this challenge.
Hedgehogs, for example, don't need a lot of space, but you could choose to build somewhere for even smaller things like woodlice, spiders or worms and you'd need even fewer materials and less garden space.
How will the animals use the home you've built?
Do you think that they will want to live in the home you make? Or maybe just visit it and explore? Or could they use it for hibernating? Ladybirds hibernate, so they might make a good guest for your wildlife hotel.
What else do you need to think about?
- Does the home need to be dry or wet?
- What sort of home does the animal currently live in?
- Can you learn anything from that about what it likes and dislikes?
- Where are you going to build it - can it be on the ground, underneath it, or in the trees?
- What will you make it from?
It's probably best to go for something very similar to the animal's current home, so natural materials like moss, sticks and stones will be better than plastic and metal. You could also try cardboard if you wanted to make something really detailed.
Remember in the wild, animals choose where they live. So even if you go to a lot of trouble creating what you think is a dream home, they might still decide to find a pad of their own design. If you find your wildlife home empty at first, don't despair - take a look back in a week or so and you may find an unexpected guest has moved in.
What will your home for wildlife look like?
You could make a grand hotel for wildlife from stacked wood palettes, bricks, pipes, cardboard and natural materials.
Or try something more simple - find a hollow in a tree or make a hole in a branch. Pop some sticks, bamboo or straw inside. You'll soon have lodgers.
Hedgehogs and other small mammals love to sleep under cosy log piles, but any small corner of the garden could become their home using an old tray covered in twigs and leaves. Creep up quietly to see if anything lives inside.
Invite a slow-worm into your garden, by creating a nice warm home with a sheet of corrugated metal on the ground.