Animal magic at hedgehog hotel enchants care home residents


The comings and goings at a new hedgehog hotel are enchanting the animal loving residents of a care home.

The state-of-the-art pad at Pendine Park in Wrexham has attracted a host of visitors including squirrels, rabbits and even a badger – but no prickly customers as yet.

The glamorous guesthouse was designed by the residents and built by Pendine’s maintenance team.

As hedgehogs are mainly nocturnal, a motion-sensitive night vision camera has been set up to film their after dark antics.

The recordings of the night-time adventures of all creatures great and small have thrilled the residents who look forward to each new episode of wildlife activity.

Pendine Park’s artist-in-residence, Sarah Edwards, said: “The new hedgehog home is proving a big hit with residents. It’s been fascinating.

“We wanted to do something to encourage wildlife in the grounds of Pendine Park and came up with the idea of designing our own hedgehog home.

“We drew up the plans in one of art classes and our maintenance team kindly built the home which we then varnished and placed in the garden behind our Seren Lounge.

“Elaine Lee, who is one of our enrichment and activities co-ordinators,  set put the motion-controlled night vision camera and we began making recordings of night and day time visitors to the hedgehog home.

“The first visitor was a grey squirrel that really gave the hedgehog house a thorough examination and even sat on the roof as well as having a good look inside. Maybe the squirrel was looking for something a bit more high rise and not so much a bungalow.

“Then we had a rabbit taking a good look but again the fact the new home is above ground put it off and it eventually bounded off. Then we have had a badger sniffing around the front door.

“We were amazed to see a badger so close to the Seren Lounge but it’s lovely to think so much wildlife is secretly using our grounds. And in the daytime lots of birds drop by including magpies and we have even seen a colourful Jay.

She added: “Residents really enjoy seeing the recordings of what animals have visited and we are wondering how long it will be before we see a fox. However, what we really want to see is a hedgehog take up residence in the perfectly designed home.

“We are using hedgehogs and other animals as inspiration in our art classes and residents really enjoy coming up with their own wildlife pictures.

“It’s another interest for residents. Some residents are really quite passionate about the animals we have in the area and want to do what they can to help wildlife thrive.”

Resident Tony Ithell, 61, who moved to Pendine’s Penybryn care home after suffering a massive stoke, loves seeing the recordings of animals that visit the hedgehog house.

He said: “It’s nice to see wild animals in the gardens. It’s unfair that hedgehogs are dying out so we wanted to build them a house and see if we could help them.

“But we didn’t think we’d see rabbits, squirrels and badgers coming to have a look. Hopefully we will get a hedgehog moving in soon.”

It’s also had the seal of approval of fellow resident Mike Blakeley, 61, a former cabinet maker from Bagillt, Flintshire.

He said: “It’s amazing. I never knew badgers and the like would be so close to the building. It’s great seeing the videos and every day I wonder what has been recorded in the garden.

“We helped design the hedgehog house and it’s great seeing it in the garden. I’m looking forward to seeing a hedgehog move in.”