Hedgehog Friendly Campus
In July 2019 the University of Kent launched it's participation in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus project- created at the University of Sheffield to use the unique spaces that university campuses are, to raise awareness of the plight of UK hedgehogs and take action to safeguard their future.
The hedgehog is in trouble, with populations plummeting 50% since 2000. Increasing habitat loss means hedgehogs are moving out of their rural homes and into built areas. But here they face a whole host of challenges, including road traffic, litter, poisoning and lack of access to food and water. We are lucky enough to have hedgehogs on our campus however, the roads that cut through campus are causing particular issues with hedgehogs being hit by vehicles at an alarming rate.
So far the University of Kent has set up a steering group made up of the Landscape and Grounds Supervisor, Sustainability Champions from the School of Computing and the Development Office, along with the Sustainability Network Chair (Kent Union) and the Sustainability Coordinator. The project also has a mascot - Kent Bunny - who is doing his bit to raise awareness about his fellow woodland friends.
We have been carrying out staff and student litter picks in the wilder areas of our campuses and these will continue throughtout the year; we have created a toolbox training session for the Landscape and Grounds Management team so that they know what to do if they find an injured hedgehog, how to check for them before strimming and what are the biggest risks to hedgehogs on campus.
Our efforts so far have earned us a Bronze award from the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project and we hope to continue this work and achieve a Silver this year.
Gardening for Hedgehogs
- Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. Not only can these harm hedgehogs but also damage their food chain. Use organic methods instead.
- Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden. Ensure boundary fences or walls have a 13cm x 13cm gap in the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
- Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife.
- Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife, and food such as hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells.
- Make or buy a hedgehog home. This offers a hibernation site safe from predators in the winter. It may also be used as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society can provide a leaflet on building a hedgehog home and sells one in its shop.
- Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing.
- Keep pea netting 22-30cms (9 - 12") off the ground so hedgehogs can pass under and plants will grow to the netting.
- Dispose of litter responsibly. Every year hedgehogs are injured by litter and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish.
- Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped in ponds or pools with sheer sides. Keep water levels topped up, provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place half submerged rocks in the water as an escape for them.
What to do if you find a hedgehog that you are concerned about
If you have found a hedgehog you are concerned about at home please use gardening gloves to collect it up, bring it indoors and put it in a high sided cardboard box with an old towel or fleece in the bottom for the hedgehog to hide under. Fill a hot water bottle so that when it is wrapped in a towel there is a nice gentle heat coming through and put that in the bottom of the box with the hedgehog, ensuring it has room to get off the bottle should it get too warm. Make sure the bottle is always kept warm (if allowed to go cold it will chill the hedgehog and do more harm than good). If the hedgehog is bleeding please do not add a hot water bottle as this will make it bleed more quickly. Put the box somewhere quiet. Offer meaty cat or dog food and fresh water then call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local contacts. Note that out of office hours there is an answerphone, if you have a hedgehog, please press option 1 and listen to the emergency numbers, these volunteers are not representatives of BHPS, but they will be able to give you advice and numbers of local contacts. Please note as volunteers they are sometimes busy (and need to sleep) so if there is no immediate answer, please leave a message or try later. In the meantime, keep the hedgehog safe indoors as described above, or if in obvious pain and in need of urgent help take it to a local vet as soon as possible.
If you find an injured hedgehog on campus please call the Estates customer service desk on 01227 816666.
We will update this page with more information as the project continues, please email email@example.com if you would like to get involved or know more.