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The University of London Small Mammal Survey


The University of London owns and manages a large amount of green space in Bloomsbury and the Sustainability team want to ensure these spaces help urban biodiversity thrive.

We’re currently working towards the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Bronze Award and one of the initiatives was to run a small mammal survey in our grounds. This was to see if we already have a hedgehog population and what other wildlife may have made our green spaces home.

A small number of colleagues helped us carry out the survey, one of which was Jim Biggin, here’s what he made of it. 

The University of London Small Mammal Survey

"I attended a workshop today, organised by the University’s Sustainability team and the Hedgehog Preservation Society. The group listened to a seminar, had a tunnel-building workshop in Deller Hall, and then headed out to the University’s campus to place our tunnels in prime hedgehog habitat, like Gordon and Woburn Square.

I personally highly value these opportunities the University offer. For me, it makes work more rewarding, and I will certainly look for workshops of this kind to continue to contribute to what makes the University so great.

The purpose of the workshop was to contribute to the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative by the Hedgehog Preservation Society, in the hope we can achieve Hedgehog Friendly Campus Bronze.

Apparently hedgehogs are now vulnerable to extinction. We learned there has been a 50% reduction in number since 2020. But they also have adorable paw prints like little hands and apparently, hedgehogs even eat dead animals like birds, and typically like beetles over slugs and snails.

The host also gave some simple steps we can all do at home to restore habitats. For example, we can cut a CD case size hole in our fences to allow them to pass through. We can also leave piles of logs and leaves, rather than throwing it away, and leaving patches of grass to grow long for them to rest in.

After putting the tunnels down, it felt great to be able to get involved with the sustainability team, getting our hands a bit dirty, out of the home, and helping the process of improving the biodiversity of our campus."

Jim Biggin
Procurement Officer, Finance and Planning
University of London

We’re awaiting the results of the survey and will share them with staff when they have been received. Whether we find hedgehogs or not, we will be working with Nurture and the team to make our green spaces a better habitat for hedgehogs and other small mammals.

If you want to support hedgehogs at home, here’s what you can do: 

  1. Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. Not only can these harm hedgehogs but it also damages their food chain. Try to use organic methods instead. 
  2. Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden. Ensure garden fences have a 13cm x 13cm gap at the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through. 
  3. Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife. 
  4. Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife. Food such as meaty cat or dog food, and cat biscuits are helpful during long dry spells but never leave out milk. 
  5. Dispose of litter responsibly. Every year hedgehogs are injured by litter and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish. 

For further information and resources please click the following link: