With bonfire night and Halloween in sight, the Pet Samaritans and Wildlife Angels are urging people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from being harmed. Hedgehogs are particularly at risk from burning to death as a bonfire can provide an ideal habitat for these curious nocturnal creatures if built in advance of the planned event. Ideally, any material that is to be used for a bonfire should be stored away from the site and then used on the day so as to minimise any risk to wildlife and hedgehogs.
If a bonfire has to be built in advance, simple precautions such as erecting chicken wire around the perimeter of the bonfire can help stop wildlife from nesting inside. Hedgehogs are able to climb, so any wire should slope outwards and be at least a meter high, to prevent them making their way in.
Before lighting it is important to do a thorough check for hedgehogs and wildlife. Always use a broom or pole to check the centre and bottom areas of the bonfire as a spade or fork could cause serious injury.