HEDGEHOGS are at risk if people do not take care this bonfire night.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is reminding people to check their bonfires before lighting in case wildlife is sheltering there.
Each autumn, Roger Musselle and his wife Fleur get a number of calls at Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean from concerned members of the public.
People find hedgehogs with burns or other injuries, or those that are just small and underweight and not in a fit state to survive hibernation.
The recent warm spell of weather means many hedgehogs have not yet started their hibernation and are still on the lookout for a ‘des res’ to spend the winter in – a pre-built garden bonfire might just seem the perfect place to bed down.
But it is not only hedgehogs at risk. It is just as likely toads, frogs and newts will find shelter in a bonfire for their seasonal snooze.
By taking the following simple steps you will ensure wildlife is not harmed during 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, contact Roger’s Wildlife Rescue on 01273 308268.
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