Hedgehogs and Bonfires
Every year, an untold number of hedgehogs are injured or worse by making the decision to call a bonfire home.
Whilst you're preparing for November the 5th and all the fun that goes with bonfire night, we are preparing ourselves for a long hard winter, and a log pile (AKA bonfire) is a great place to escape the cold and wet. At that time of year many hedgehogs will be starting to look for a hibernation site to escape winter, and a logpile is an opportunity that many see as too good to pass up. But then when the fire is lit.....
So, in order to avoid this, there are a few precautions you can take;
Don't build you fire in advance Or Move the location of the fire (stick by stick) and rebuild before lighting.
If it's not really feasible for you to build your fire at the time (or you can't wait)
- Put a ring of sand around the fire so you can see if any little footprints are made (this isn't foolproof though due to the potential for rain effects etc)
- Try and build your fire on 'stilts' so a hog can't reach it (it also means the fire can take well as it can oxygenate from below) - again, not foolproof as some hedgehogs are capable climbers!
- If you can't do the above, check your fire before lighting - check round the base for 'disturbance', use a torch to look right into the middle. Move the sticks around if you can't see - don't forget, hedgehogs are brown, like wood (just to make it more difficult for you.) Use a long stick (broom handle?) to lift the base and look right in.
- Keep your ears open too - hedgehogs do make noises so keep listening, but even if we aren't grunting, you may still hear us moving!
- Make another (hopefully more inviting) home in a quiet part of your garden - twigs, sticks, leaves etc can be raked into a pile, and hopefully us hogs will choose that instead.
Please don't just rely on one of these steps, please do them all (if you can)!
And finally, if you find a hedgehog, please re-site it to a warm, dry place in a quiet part of your garden - ideally to a readymade hedgehog home, or some dense foliage.
Thanks a bunch, Alan X X