Animal Charity Urges People To Check For Hedgehogs Before Lighting Their Bonfire Ahead Of This Weekend
The charity has asked that those planning on building bonfires do so on the day rather than in advance as hedgehogs can become trapped within the burning piles of wood, which they sometimes nest in.
The BHPS believe Bonfire Night (5th November) is claiming a huge amount of lives of the spiky mammals as the population is rapidly declining.
According to The UK Mammal Society and Natural England, the hedgehog population is estimated to be at 522,000, which is two-thirds lower than in 1995.
Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said: "It's a great tragedy that hedgehog lives are still lost on Bonfire Night, especially as it is so quick and easy to take steps to avoid it.
"We are so proud of the community of hedgehog fans that come together on Facebook and we hope that we can help to engage and educate even more people on how to keep hedgehogs safe this winter.
"This November, remember to grab a broom and check your bonfire."
Other tips the BHPS have shared on how to hedgehog-proof your fire this weekend, include placing chicken wire one metre high all the way around the bottom if you're building a large bonfire ahead of the day.
They suggest that the wire is held in place with stakes, while the wire should slope outwards at an angle to deter hedgehogs from climbing in - if you didn't know, the spiky creatures are in fact nifty climbers.
Before lighting the fire, the organisation advised that the public use a broom to lift the base of the bonfire pile and listen for a hissing sound to check for hedgehogs as they tend to hide in the centre.
When lighting, do so from only one side so there is an escape route for anything you may have missed.
EVERY RT could SAVE LIVES!
Having a bonfire?
:fire: Don't build it too far in advance
:fire: Check it before lighting
:fire: Light it from one side to allow wildlife an escape route pic.twitter.com/qQHVQvTTiI
- Team4Nature (@Team4Nature) October 31, 2019
Should you find a hedgehog, Vass explains: "If hedgehogs are found, take as much of the nest as you can and place them in a high-sided cardboard or plastic box with plenty of newspaper/old towelling.
"Ensure there are air holes in the lid and that the lid is secured firmly to the box, as hedgehogs are great climbers. Ideally, wear garden gloves so as not to get human smells on them and to keep them calm as hedgehogs are easily stressed. It also protects your hands from their spikes.
"Put the box in a safe place such as a shed or garage well away from the festivities and offer the hedgehog some meaty cat or dog food and water. In case you have missed anything, light the fire from one side only.
"That night once the embers are totally dampened down, release the hedgehog in the same area, under a hedge or behind a stack of logs with its original nesting materials."
If you find an injured hedgehog, the BHPS recommend calling them on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local contacts.
Featured Image Credit: BHPS