Blog Post

Helping our hedgehogs in Reading

The UoR Hedgehog Society was launched in March 2023 at the Student Sustainability Summit. The society is led by an enthusiastic team of students, supported by staff from a range of roles but all have the goal of helping our spiky friends to thrive on University of Reading land. The number of hedgehogs in the UK has fallen dramatically since the 1950’s with some estimating there are just under 900,000 currently left. Urban populations of hedgehogs are showing potential signs of stabilisation, so organisations like the UoR Hedgehog society can make a real difference.

Nilo Mason (undergraduate zoology student), one of the Co-Presidents of the society said: “I was inspired to start the hedgehog society during a lecture on current topics and finding out the rapid decline of hedgehog numbers in the UK. Britian’s favourite mammal deserves better so I chose to act.”

Raising funds

Initially the society focused on administrative tasks to support the efficient functioning of the society but the students quickly began fundraising which is critical to enabling the society to achieve its goals. The initial crowdfunding was a great success, raising £568. The University fund matched the first £200 that was raised. The Society were also successful in receiving a £250 grant from the Friends of the University of Reading because we were able to demonstrate the collaboration between staff and students on such a vital conservation topic.

Our hog population

The society then moved their activity towards gaining further understanding about where our hedgehog populations are located on campus. In April the students used footprint tunnels to identify locations – they were found in: the Wilderness behind the nuclear bunker, the Wilderness to the West of Brian Hoskins and in the east of the Harris garden. In the Autumn there are plans to expand the footprint tunnels across Whiteknights, as well as potentially the Northcourt Avenue halls area and Greenlands. The team also undertook an extensive hazards audit of Whiteknights, which identified areas which require repair or maintenance to ensure that they don’t pose a threat.

The team organised a series of events throughout the spring and summer terms. This included: organising a successful staff and student litter pick, a craft session making pom pom hedgehogs, a sunset wildlife survey and a talk by an University alumni about nature recovery.

Summer plans

Over the summer vacation the society will focus on the placement / refilling of water stations which will be vital due to already warm conditions. The team will also be on hand to check areas due to be mown beforehand to move any nesting animals. In Autumn the team are planning lots of activities for Welcome Week, further population scanning and working with Grounds Maintenance to improve connectivity between habitats.

How you can join in

The society is always keen to recruit new staff and student members, please see the UoR Hedgehog Society web page and keep up to date with activities on Instagram. Please email for more details about how to join. Members of the society will have the opportunity to learn many new skills, including practical conservation, marketing, negotiating and leadership.

Sara Lovejoy (Digital Engagement Officer, MCE) said she was wanted to support the society because  “I saw firsthand the effects of last year’s hot weather on struggling hedgehogs. We all need to play our part in helping the wildlife around us and supporting the Hedgehog Society, even in a small way, has been incredibly rewarding, not only because I know that the team are doing everything they can to make campus a safe environment for the hedgehogs, but it’s also been fantastic to see the students’ knowledge and understanding of these amazing creatures grow.”

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