It’s not just dogs and cats you need to think about on Bonfire Night.
Before you light your bonfire this weekend have a quick check underneath – for hedgehogs.
A hedgehog expert says she has already had some brought to her this year suffering burns from fires in people’s back gardens.
Vicky Greenwood, of Oggles Hedgehog Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Dewsbury, has given advice to people ahead of Bonfire Night.
She said: “I’ve had a couple over the last few weeks with burns from small fires people have had in gardens.
“If their spikes are just burnt we can look after them but if the burn is too bad they have to be put to sleep.
“I know that some do burn to death in bonfires.”
Tips for a hedgehog-friendly Bonfire Night:
- Build your bonfire on the day it will be lit, putting the pile of material next to the bonfire site and rebuilding before lighting it if necessary;
- Build the bonfire on clear ground, never on top of a pile of leaves or near to a pampas grass;
- After building the fire prevent hedgehogs from getting in by putting chicken wire one metre high all the way around the bottom. This should be held in place with stakes and the wire should slope outwards at an angle to make it difficult to climb as hedgehogs are good climbers!
- If you do find a hedgehog in your unlit bonfire, place it in a box with some leaves or shredded paper, with some water and meaty cat or dog food, and place it in a shed where it can be left in the quiet until the fireworks have finished and the bonfire dampened down.
Autumn and winter also poses a threat to young or underweight hedgehogs, too small to survive hibernation.
Vicky added: “If people see hedgehogs during the day then they need help, they only come out because they’re asking for help.
“We have over 100 in at the moment and if we can we’ll set them back out when it’s safe to do so, but they’re ready for hibernation so shouldn’t be seen in the day.”