Make a hibernaculum

How to make a hibernation refuge

How to build a hibernaculum for amphibians and reptiles

Hibernacula are underground chambers that amphibians and reptiles use through winter to shelter from the cold, providing a safe space for them to hibernate, as well as being a spot for lone bees to soak up the sun and for birds to relax.

Woman building hibernaculum

©Katrina Martin / 2020VISION

You will need:

  • A spade
  • Logs and branches
  • Rocks and bricks
  • 2-3 drainpipe cut-offs or cement pipes (if using plastic drainpipes, roughen the insides with sandpaper so that they are not too slippy for animals to climb
  • Turf or meadow flower seeds (optional)
A hibernaculum is an underground chamber that protects amphibians and reptiles them from the cold of winter; a safe haven.

How to make your hibernaculum:

  • In a sunny spot, dig a hole about 50 c deep and 1.5 metres across
  • Fill with logs, branches, bricks and rocks, leaving plenty of gaps in between
  • Insert entrance tubes (drainpipes) at ground level into the hole
  • Cover the pile with soil (to about 50cm high)
  • You can plant meadow seeds or turf over the mound.

Hibernacula are simple and easy to build. Once you’ve created yours, why not share this page with a picture of your amphibian home on social media and encourage someone else to do the same? Or of you'd like to build some more hiding spaces, use our illustrated guide to help other creatures too!