Categories: Science

Check your bonfire for hedgehogs! Experts warn animals are using log piles to stay warm and dry

If you’re lighting a bonfire this weekend, don’t forget to check it for hedgehogs first.

Experts from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society have warned that the small animals often use woodpiles to stay warm and dry during their hibernation.

Come Bonfire Night, their cozy hideout can turn deadly as many Britons set them on fire ceremonially.

The organization recommends moving your logs before you plan to light the fire and lighting it from one side so any urchins still have a chance to escape.

Experts from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society have warned that hedgehogs often use woodpiles to stay warm and dry during hibernation.

Mr Fogle was joined by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Sonic the Hedgehog last Thursday for an event in London to teach families how to have a responsible Bonfire Night.

HOW TO HAVE A HEDGEHOG FRIENDLY BONFIRE?

Replace the whole pile of wood just before it lights up.

Check the bonfire carefully by watching and listening for signs of hedgehogs before lighting them. Use a flashlight and something blunt like a broomstick to help you with this.

Light the bonfire on one side only to provide an escape route for any wildlife you may have missed.

Ben Fogle, broadcaster and UN conservationist of the wilderness, said: ‘People spend days or weeks building a bonfire leading up to the night of the bonfire and hedgehogs see this as the perfect habitat to make a home. to make.

“What we’re trying to encourage is that if you’re going to make a bonfire, you should check it for hedgehogs.”

Hedgehogs have declined sharply over the past 70 years and are considered a ‘vulnerable’ species on the British Mammal Red List.

In 1950 there were an estimated 36 million in the UK, but this had dropped to just one million by 2013.

According to 2018 research, the hedgehog has disappeared from nearly 80 percent of rural Britain.

The spiny mammal is increasingly moving into urban areas, which act as refuges for the small woodland creatures, University of Reading scientists said at the time.

There are some simple steps people can take to minimize the risk of their bonfire to hedgehogs.

First, moving the whole pile of wood just before it’s about to be lit, the best way is to make sure there aren’t any hedgehogs hiding in it.

It’s also a good idea to carefully check the bonfire by watching and listening for signs of hedgehogs before lighting it.

Using a flashlight and something blunt like a broomstick can help you with this.

Finally, lighting the bonfire from one side provides an escape route for any wildlife missed during the control.

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society said: ‘Bonfire night is a dangerous time for hedgehogs across the UK.

Just as hedgehogs think of hibernation and want to make nests in piles of wood and hedges, we prepare what seems like the perfect place by making bonfire piles!

“But by being aware and following a few simple steps, people can reduce the risk of hedgehogs and enjoy a fun, responsible campfire night.”

Hedgehogs, in particular, have experienced a sharp decline over the past 70 years. In 1950 there were an estimated 36 million in the UK, but this had fallen to just one million in 2013 – a third of the level at the turn of the century

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BIODIVERSITY IN THE UK

The UK still has 50 per cent of its natural wealth left compared to historical levels.

This makes it one of the most nature-poor countries in the world.

Once common wildlife such as skylarks and hedgehogs are no longer daily sightings.

While 92 percent of seagrass habitat and 97 percent of wildflower meadows have been lost since 1970.

Pumpkins dumped in woods after Halloween can also pose a threat to hedgehogs.

Woodland Trust experts have warned that pumpkin flesh can be deadly to them and other animals, as well as attracting rats and disturbing soils, plants and fungi.

Hedgehogs are opportunistic eaters and spend the fall and early winter building up their fat reserves for hibernation.

“As a result, hedgehogs can gorge on readily available foods such as dumped pumpkins,” said Trevor Weeks of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.

While not toxic to them, the fleshy fibrous fruit can cause stomach upset and diarrhea as they are not designed to eat large amounts of fruit.

‘This can cause them to feel bloated and dangerously dehydrated, which in turn can be fatal.

“At this time of year they can’t afford to get sick, or they may not survive hibernation.”

Instead, the charity advises the public to responsibly dispose of their pumpkin in a food waste bin or compost pile, or even eat it while it’s still in good condition.

DOS AND DON’S FOR PROTECTING HEDGEHOG IN YOUR GARDEN

TO DO

– Leave some wilderness areas for the hedgehogs to sniff for insects

– Put water outside to drink

– Set out a bowl of dog food or meaty cat food around dusk.

– Install a hedgehog house in a quiet part of the garden.

– See if your hedgehog is limping or appears to be injured, or keep an eye out for underweight hedgehogs in late fall

DO NOT

– Prepare bread or milk

– Pick up suitable hedgehogs

– Leave black bags lying around

– Use slug pellets or other chemicals as they can poison hedgehogs and other animals

– Light a bonfire without checking if a hedgehog or other wild animal has entered

– Fork over compost heaps in case hedgehogs or other animals have taken up residence.

– Spray hedgehogs with dog or cat flea spray. It will be harmful to the hedgehog

Source: Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital

Jacky

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