Hedgehog Friendly Campus Derby Group

The Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national scheme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society aiming to improve awareness of hedgehogs for university staff and students and to increase hedgehog numbers on and around university campuses.

What is a Hedgehog Friendly Campus?

Derby University has recently joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Campaign, a project funded by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The Hedgehog Friendly Campus Team at Derby officially started in April 2020 with a mix of both students and staff that are passionate about hedgehogs. Together we strive to make Derby University Campuses a safer environment for hedgehogs.

To find out more, watch this short video. 

What is a Hedgehog Friendly Campus video

View the what is a hedgehog friendly campus video transcript

Hedgehog facts

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and generalist feeders, they make great natural pest killers! They eat earthworms, beetles, slugs, millipedes, and caterpillars. If you want to feed any possible hedgehogs in your area, you can put out some wet or dried cat food, or specially formulated hedgehog food. These are better than dog food which tends to have less protein than cat food.

Hedgehogs have two mating seasons per year, one in April and one in September. Their babies are born in June/ July and October/ November. They will have about four to five hoglets a time but are likely to only raise two or three to maturity. If their nesting site is disturbed the mother will abandon her hoglets and will not return.

The hoglets at this point would not survive on their own and intervention is absolutely necessary. Many late hoglets will also not make it as they have not had the time required to put on the fat stores they will need to get them through winter. If any of these hoglets are found, they will also need intervention.

However, hedgehog mothers are caring, and look after their young if left to it. She will raise the hoglets and when they are three to four weeks old they will start to venture out with their mother. After ten days of being shown the ropes, the hoglets go it alone and start their own adventure.

Hedgehogs do hibernate, although they can wake up and move around during this hibernation if they want to change their nesting site. They slow their heart rate and all other bodily functions to allow them to conserve energy for the spring and summer, resting throughout the winter. They will start their hibernation in October or November and emerge again in March and April.

Why are hedgehogs endangered?

Sadly, hedgehogs were officially listed as vulnerable under the IUCN red list for British mammals this year. In the last 20 years, the hedgehog population has declined by up to 50 percent, and below we’ve listed some of the factors that contributed to this:

Hedgehogs are doing better in urban environments than in rural environments. But they are coming into contact with more and more vehicles, which is having an impact on their declining numbers. Hedgehogs wander and make their nests in various places around an area of about 10 to 20 hectares. Which is roughly 10,000 square metres. So, they have a large home range but, often this space is intersected with homes and roads.

Hedgehogs cannot access gardens, and so they are forced to find other ways around their patch. Hedgehogs are not territorial and choose not to fight with each other. But less space means less room to roam and access to food for all the hedgehogs in the area.

Read more about why hedgehogs are disappearing and learn about other ways to help and record hedgehogs.

Person holding a hedgehog
Hannah and hedgehog

What can you do to help?

You might think that it’s hard to make a difference as a single person however there are lots of things you can do in your own home/garden to help:

Check out the websites below for more information:

A DIY shelter for hedgehogs
A homemade shelter for hedgehogs

What have we done so far? 

Although adjustments have been made due to the circumstances of COVID-19 we’ve managed to achieve 8 out of 10 points to reach bronze accreditation. Below are a few of them:

We received a bronze award for our efforts in February, this year and we continue towards silver and eventually gold. By doing this we can make the University of Derby’s campuses safe places for hedgehogs, and contribute to the survival of this much-loved species across Britain.

A cartoon hedgehog holds a certificate wearing a graduation cap. Text reads 'bronze award 2020/21.'

University wins bronze award for making campuses hedgehog friendly

In mid-February, the University of Derby successfully attained the bronze award for making its campuses more hedgehog friendly!

Read about what actions we took to win the bronze award. Read about what actions we took to win the bronze award.

Do you want to get involved?

We would love to have more people join our Hedgehog Friendly Campus Team here at Derby University to create the safest campus environment possible for hedgehogs.

Please contact Briony Norton by email at b.norton@derby.ac.uk for more information.

You can also contribute to our Just Giving fund to help preserve hedgehogs, all the donations go to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. 

To keep up with all the latest activities and hedgehog news, follow us on twitter: @HedgehogsDerby