East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service is urging people to “Think Hedgehog” this Autumn and to be careful when lighting bonfires.
“As we go into winter many hedgehogs will be finding places to hide up and hibernate. We are asking people to follow our ‘Top Ten Bonfire Safety Tips’ this Autumn.
It is unclear how may hedgehogs and other wildlife are killed in bonfires each year, mainly because they rarely get found afterwards. Numerous people have unfortunately had their bonfire celebrations ruined after finding escaping hedgehogs and other wildlife crawling out from bonfires burnt or injured” said WRAS’s founder Trevor Weeks MBE.
WRAS has produced the following top ten tips for keeping hedgehogs and other wildlife safe during the bonfire season:
- Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible
- Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.
- With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an overhang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside
- Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape
- Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire
- Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes
- Use fireworks away from trees and woodland
- Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden
- Have a bucket of water available in care you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire
- Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty