Help a hedgehog on Bonfire Night

Organisers of Guy Fawkes Night events are being urged by Edinburgh volunteers to check their bonfires for sleeping hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs, and other small animals, often mistake bonfires as a place to shelter from the elements, which sadly leads to many being killed, experts say.

The number of hedgehogs has fallen to such an extent that earlier this year they were officially classified as vulnerable to extinction.

A group of volunteers from the University of Edinburgh recommend that people use a broom handle to lift the base of the bonfire pile, before shining torches and looking and listening carefully for signs of life.

Hedgehog Campus

In 2019, Edinburgh joined 22 other universities across the UK in being accredited as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.

This year, the University has made the campus more hedgehog friendly by introducing hedgehog houses and improving biodiversity by creating wildflower meadows and encouraging the growth of natural habitats.

In May, as part of National Hedgehog Awareness Week, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies hosted a webinar on ecological hedgehog medicine.

Litter Pick Challenge

Staff, students and the local community are also being encouraged to join The British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s litter picking challenge.

The University campus that collects the most litter between 2 November and 18 December will receive a hedgehog house and a bag of hedgehog food.

All participants - whether from the winning team or not - will also receive a digital certificate in recognition of their efforts.

Hedgehog numbers

The number of hedgehogs in the UK has fallen dramatically in the past 20 years, with around half the population lost. It is estimated there are fewer than one million left.

Increasing habitat loss in the countryside means hedgehogs are moving into more built-up areas.

Towns and cities present the creatures with a host of potentially lethal challenges including road traffic, litter, poisoning and lack of access to food and water.


Campus to create wildlife haven for hedgehogs

British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Litter pick challenge