With Bonfire night only days away, Charlotte Owen, WildCall Officer at Sussex Wildlife Trust, is reminding people to take extra special care to check their bonfires before lighting in case wildlife is sheltering inside.
“Stacked logs and leaf piles make great places for hedgehogs to hibernate, and they can’t tell which might be about to go up in flames. Frogs, toads and other small creatures may also take shelter in stacked bonfire materials, so to minimise the risks to wildlife:
- Try to build your bonfire on the day, so animals don’t have a chance to creep inside.
- If you’ve already made yours, move it to a clear area of the garden before lighting it to allow any wildlife to move away.
- Double check the pile before lighting. Use broom handles to lift up the bonfire and have a good look inside with a torch. Listen carefully for any signs of life. If you find any animals, move them to a sheltered location well away from the bonfire.
- Light the bonfire at one side rather than all around the base, so that any undetected creatures will at least have a chance to escape.
- Don’t burn everything in your garden. Leave some logs and old leaves piled up elsewhere to give hedgehogs, frogs and toads a winter home.
- Make sure the bonfire is safely out before leaving it unattended.
If the worst happens, and you find injured wildlife, please contact a wildlife rescue service as soon as possible.”