With bonfire night only days away Sussex Wildlife Trust is reminding people to check their bonfires before lighting in case wildlife is sheltering there.
About this time each year Roger Musselle and his wife Fleur who run Roger’s Wildlife Rescue at Woodingdean get calls from concerned members of the public who find hedgehogs with burns or other injuries or just small and underweight and not in a fit state to survive hibernation.
The recent warm spell of weather means that many hedgehogs have not yet started their hibernation and are still on the lookout for a ‘des res’ to spend the winter in and a pre-built garden bonfire might just seem the perfect place to bed down.
And it’s not only hedgehogs at risk.It’s just as likely toads, frogs and newts will also find shelter there for their seasonal snooze. By taking the following simple steps you will ensure wildlife isn’t harmed during your community and back garden celebrations:
- Build your bonfire as close to the night as possible (preferably gather all the materials near to the site and build it on the day).
- Before lighting, gently search for amphibians and hedgehogs using a torch and rake.
- Move any animals to somewhere dry and safe, well away from the fire.
- Gardeners can provide alternative winter nests by piling leaves or logs in undisturbed areas a few weeks before the bonfire is built.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is not able to take in injured wildlife so if you find an injured hedgehog or other wildlife please contact Roger’s Wildlife Rescue on 01273 308268.
Picture shows:Roger Musselle with a rescued hedgehog © Miles Davies