This time of year, as we say goodbye to the summer and welcome the Autumnal days and darker evenings, we look forward to the inevitable fireworks events which are no doubt being planned.
Whether it’s a large bonfire for an event or a garden bonfire for a family gathering in the back garden, there are simple steps you can follow to save hedgehogs.
SAVE HEDGEHOGS, DON’T BUILD BONFIRES IN ADVANCE!
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) urges people to avoid building bonfires in advance of the day they are lit.
This might be difficult for large-scale events, but avoiding making a bonfire too far in advance can avoid unnecessary wildlife deaths.
Advise from British Hedgehog Preservation Society
Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS, advises moving a bonfire to another spot if it must be built in advance, but this doesn’t seem practical advice for many.
Build a Perimeter Fence
A little effort and forethought can allow you to build your bonfire in advance, yet protect the wildlife by adding some chicken wire or protected fencing around the bonfire site, to avoid hedgehogs from settling down within the danger zone. Be aware, these little spiky critters are good climbers, so don’t think a low-level fence will do it. Try and make the perimeter defences 1 meter high.
Surely, you have some wood spare from the bonfire which can be used for a fence and then burnt when the bonfire is lit.
Hedgehog Hiding Spots
Hedgehogs tend to like plants such as pampas grass, which in itself can ignite very easily. Just take a moment to check for any wildlife in the burn zone before commencing the evening’s entertainments.
Final Checks before lighting a bonfire
If you have built a bonfire in advance and ignored our suggestions, please do, at least, take extra precautions before lighting the fire. Lift the bottom of the bonfire gently to see if anything is taking cover beneath it.
As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, use a pole or broom handle to disturb some of the wood in an attempt to check for resting living creatures and ensure they don’t meet an untimely, and painful demise.
Using a torch will help and listen for a hissing sound, as this is the noise they make when disturbed.