To a hedgehog, piles of wood and branches seem like the perfect place to hibernate for the winter. But once the wood is set alight, hiding hedgehogs will soon become trapped and overcome with smoke. If you are planning a bonfire, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep the hedgehogs in your garden safe.
1. Building your bonfire
Create your bonfire on the day that you will be using it - this will prevent little animals from setting up camp. Choose a spot with lots of space, avoiding piles of leaves and grass, as this is where hedgehogs may be hiding.
2. Checking your bonfire
Check that there are no hidden creatures in your bonfire once you have built it. Always do one more check before you light it.
3. Lighting your bonfire
Light your bonfire from one side, to give any hidden hedgehogs time to escape.
4. Create an escape route
Create a small hole in your fence so that hedgehogs can retreat to less smoky areas.
Put out fresh water in a shallow bowl, so thirsty hedgehogs can have a drink. Don’t be tempted to feed them milk as they are lactose intolerant.
Put out tinned dog or cat food for hedgehogs to nibble on and keep up their strength.
7. Finding a hedgehog
If you do find a distressed hedgehog, put on a pair of garden gloves and transfer the hedgehog to a shoebox with leaves or grass inside. Make sure there are air holes in the top of the box before fastening it shut. Put the box in a quiet place, such as a garden shed. Once the festivities are over, release the hedgehog into a bush or grassy area.
Following these simple tricks can keep your garden a hedgehog friendly zone this winter.