Urban areas don’t tend to be too kind to hedgehogs. Their numbers are declining in Britain, however some people are trying to help. Enter Michel Birkenwald, a jeweler Atlas Obscura described as “one of London’s most enthusiastic engineers of infrastructure for animals.” Birkenwald builds hedgehog highways — and they’re pretty darn adorable.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, hedgehog, hedgehogs, animal, animals, mammal, spiny mammal

Hedgehogs have declined by around 50 percent in the UK and by one third in urban areas, according to Emily Wilson of hedgehog advocacy group Hedgehog Street. The organization is working to spur people towards saving the small spiny mammals — and they say the most crucial action people can take is make sure the animals can pass through their gardens. Hedgehogs travel about one mile each night to seek out a mate or food, but fences stop them, and Hedgehog Street said our walls becoming more secure is one of the main reasons for hedgehog decline.

Related: This sweet animation aims to help save the British hedgehog

Birkenwald describes himself as “just an average guy who decided to help one of our most adorable mammals” to Atlas Obscura. He started Barnes Hedgehogs around four years ago, to drill the hedgehog crossings — small holes in walls around the size of a CD — for free. It can take around an hour to drill the passageways in sturdy Victorian bricks in London.

Other people want to help out too – at least 47,544, in fact. Those are the people who have registered with Hedgehog Street to become Hedgehog Champions, ambassadors for the little mammals in their areas. The organization has other information on how you can help hedgehogs here.

Birkenwald marks the crossings with small Hedgehog Highway signs that are available through the Hedgehog Street website; the signs are comprised of recycled plastic and cost about £3, or just over $4, each.

+ Barnes Hedgehogs

+ Hedgehog Street

+ Hedgehog Street Hedgehog Highways

Via Atlas Obscura

Image via Wikimedia Commons