AS families across the North-East and North Yorkshire stay home, a wildlife protection organisation is urging people to use this time to build hedgehogs a home too.

There were over 30 million hedgehogs in the UK in the 1950s, but recent estimates put this figure at less than a million. Welcoming hedgehogs into gardens may help with conservation.

Hedgehogs, which are good for gardens as they eat slugs, earwigs and a range of other insects, hibernate in autumn but nature conservation charity RSPB is urging families, with gardens of all sizes, to build a hedgehog home during spring, which will then be ready for a hedgehog's house-hunting in the coming months.

Building a hedgehog home is "hard", with the charity estimating it to take over two hours, and involves the whole family as tools such as a hammer and saw is needed.

Homes should have a large insulated compartment to protect the spikey creature from both the cold and heat, with a smaller entrance corridor which will keep them safe from the likes of badgers and dogs.

The RSPB encourages people to get creative with designs, but reiterates basic principles.

Once a hedgehog home is built, it should be cleared out every two years. This can be done in April, after their hibernation but before hedgehogs starting producing hoglets, and also in October.

Visit and select 'Give nature a home' to find blueprints for a hedgehog home.