FACT FRIDAY WEEK 6
Happy Bonfire Night!
While you enjoy the firework celebrations tonight and this weekend, remember to spare a thought for the British wildlife which is preparing for the coming months of icy winter ahead.
Small mammals like hedgehogs start getting ready for hibernation around this time of year in November, and one of the places where they might choose to snuggle up is stacks of logs.
Unfortunately, a hedgehog doesn’t know which stacks of logs are safe havens and which are bonfires! Made from wood and full of cracks to hide in, hedgehogs understandably mistake them for perfect shelters.
So if we don’t take care, we might be doing our wildlife harm. Here are some steps you can take to celebrate safely:
⁃ Don’t build your bonfire until the day you are planning to light it. This reduces the time it’s stood there being an inviting shelter for small animals.
⁃ If it has been there for a while, move your bonfire before lighting it.
⁃ Don’t build your bonfire on top of piles of leaves: a hedgehog might be fast asleep in there! Look for spaces of open ground instead.
⁃ Put a chicken wire fence around your bonfire to stop hedgehogs getting inside.
⁃ Check your bonfire before striking the match! It’s best to do this with something blunt like a broom instead of a sharp tool like a fork that might hurt the hedgehog.
⁃ Check thoroughly, lifting parts of the bonfire where needed. Use your ears too! A hissing sound could be a hedgehog in distress.
If you do find a hedgehog tucked up, use gloves to gently put it in a cardboard box. Get plenty of nest material like leaf litter, and make sure to release the hedgehog far away from the festivities.
With these few things in mind you can admire the marvels of bonfire night with your mind at peace and your local hedgehogs safe!