The British Hedgehog Preservation Society is urging people to keep an eye out for hedgehogs this winter, with Bonfire Night fast approaching.
Hedgehogs and other small animals often hide in bonfires, so it’s vital to check them before lighting.
You can keep small animals safe by following these steps:
- Build your bonfire on the day of lighting. This will also prevent it from getting soaked, should it rain!
- If a large bonfire must be built in advance, protect it by putting a metre of chicken wire around the bottom.
- Wire should slope outwards, to make it difficult for hedgehogs to climb.
- If a bonfire is left unattended, make sure you check it before lighting.
- Use a pole to gently lift sections to check for hedgehogs and small animals (don’t use anything sharp!), and shine a torch in.
- Hedgehogs make a hissing sound when disturbed, so keep your ears open!
- Just in case, light one side first, and keep the unlit side clear. This will hopefully give any hedgehogs you’ve missed the chance to escape safely.
- If you do see any hedgehogs, you can help move them to safety by gently picking them up while wearing gloves. This will protect from spikes and also avoid rubbing your scent on them.