As of 2020, the Hedgehog population is estimated to be less than 1 million across Great Britain, a reduction from an estimated 1.55 million in 1995 (Harris, et al., 1995; Roos, et al., 2012). This decline has landed the European Hedgehog on the Red List, a collective list of animals vulnerable to extinction.
The main reasons for this decline:
- Habitat loss, resulting in a lack of connectivity between green spaces.
- The lack of connectivity requires hedgehogs to cross high-speed roads.
- The use of pesticides in agriculture depletes their food sources.
- Netting and litter pose a risk of Hedgehogs becoming trapped.
- Ponds in gardens and lakes without an escape.
- A Hedgehog may reside in any log pile built multiple days before being used as a bonfire. Hedgehogs view log piles as a suitable home with darkness, warmth, protection and little disturbance from predators.
- Garden equipment (trimmers and lawnmowers) are used often in summer. However, in long grass, a sick or injured hedgehog may be unable to move and are at risk from people not checking the area before they use machinery.
It’s not all doom and gloom!
Although our student terraced houses aren’t suitable for hedgehogs to reside in, we can still contribute to reversing the declining population.
Here are 5 ways you can help right now:
- Go litter-picking in local greenspaces. The university also hosts litter-picking events you can sign up to! Make sure to keep an eye on the Students Union webpage.
- Have evening walks with friends and map any hedgehog sightings at https://bighedgehogmap.org/
- Check any bonfires before lighting, especially if they’ve been built multiple days before.
- Register as a Hedgehog Champion at https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/register/ and distribute posters to encourage neighbours to be hedgehog-friendly.
- Join the university in its campaign to become a Hedgehog Friendly Campus. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Society!