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University campus becomes a thriving habitat for spiky creatures as it receives Bronze for the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative

The University is pleased to have recently been awarded Bronze as part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative, a campaign set up by the national Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Photo of 'Kazzie' the hedgehog in grass

This was achieved through tasks such as litter picking across the campus by staff and student volunteers, holding fundraising events, undertaking workshops and forming a small steering group made up of staff and students.

A hoglet was found on campus last year severely underweight (weighing just 384g), meaning she was unlikely to successfully hibernate over the winter and her chances of survival would be slim. Rachel Senior, Assistant Gardens Manager fostered the hoglet – named ‘Kazzie’ – and, alongside the help of Barrow Hedgehog Rescue, helped her to achieve a healthy weight of 980g before she went into hibernation.

In April, she was released onto a site where habitat piles have been specially created and the team can closely monitor her. Once government restrictions have been lifted and we are able to move freely again, the team will be able to move her to be released safely back into the wild.  

Since Kazzie was found, neighbours of the University have continued to report sightings of other hedgehogs nearby, so it sounds like Kazzie will be in good company.

Despite the current circumstances, people across the nation can continue to help hedgehogs by making their gardens a safe and enjoyable habitat for these creatures year-round. As part of Hedgehog Awareness Week (3-9 May) we’ve put together some of the things you can try at home:

  • Provide a ramp or partially submerged stones by a pond so they can have a drink
  • Always check through compost heaps before moving, and bonfires before lighting
  • Create a ‘wild area’ of your garden that is a little less tidy, with stacks of branches and leaves if possible, as hedgehogs love to hibernate underneath sheds and hedges using these materials
  • Put a dish of water out during the hot summer months to help keep any garden visitors cool
  • Hedgehogs mostly eat insects, but they’ll gladly eat cat food as a treat too!
  • Avoid using garden pesticides where possible, especially slug pellets, as they are poisonous to hedgehogs (these cute creatures actually eat slugs and caterpillars, so you might not need those pesticides to keep your garden thriving!)
  • Hedgehogs love to travel between gardens, so consider creating a ‘highway’ by putting a small hole in your fence so they can come and go.

The team plan to complete further tasks and initiatives to achieve the next Hedgehog Friendly Campus Award, Silver, when it is possible to do so.