Help Hedgehogs on Bonfire Night
This bonfire night, you may not be headed out to a local firework display, but, if your household bubble does light up a garden bonfire, here are some quick tips for keeping your garden wildlife safe.
It’s always best to build the bonfire on the day of lighting it, so no animals can move in overnight. If yours is already built, you can move it on the day to a debris-free area—this will give wildlife a chance to vacate. You can have a gentle rummage around using a broom on the bottom half of the heap. Keep an ear out for any noises as you methodically work around the structure because any disturbed hedgehogs will make a hissing noise as a tell-tale sign that the heap is inhabited!
If you do find any hibernating hedgehogs, carefully scoop them up using gardening gloves. Move them to an area of your garden, or a local green space, that has tree rows or shrubs they can shelter under.
For next year, if you do like to build your bonfire in advance, it’s easy to protect the area by surrounding it with chicken wire—this does a great job at preventing hiding hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are not the only garden visitors who need your help, keep an eye out for toads, frogs and newts, for whom it is prime hibernating time. You can give a visual check by using a torch to make sure none have sneaked in just before you light the bonfire. It’s also an idea to try to divert toads, frogs and newts away from the bonfire by creating small piles of leaves and logs as alternative shelter—these can used as sheltering spots throughout the year.
Another top tip is to not light the whole bonfire at once. Lighting it slowly, working from one side to another, gives any stragglers a chance to scurry out.
Keep your garden wildlife thriving with this downloadable colouring-in sheet – with hedgehog facts so that your little ones can learn as they colour!
Remember, remember to save your garden wildlife this Bonfire Night. These little creatures that share your patch of land, are vital for the ecosystem and help your garden to flourish.