Bonfire night is fast approaching! Rain or shine the nation will trek into fields with sparklers and toffee apples to enjoy the fun. But how do you keep wildlife out of danger?
We have compiled a list of tips on keeping wildlife safe on bonfire night, and put them all together here for you. These tips come from the RSPCA, The Guardian, The RSPB, Woodland Trust and Wildlife Ambulance.
Look out for hedgehogs!
Wildlife charities and experts are raising awareness about the potential dangers bonfires pose to hedgehogs and other small creatures. What we see as a pile of unnecessary leaves and branches, a hedgehog sees as an ideal place to settle down for hibernation.
Build your bonfire on the day
In order to avoid burning or killing these little creatures, you should leave building your bonfire as late as possible. This gives them less time to set up camp amongst the leaves and twigs.
If this is not possible, try and move the entire bonfire to another site on the day. This relocation will give little guests the time to escape. It is best to build your bonfire on clear ground, rather than on piles of leaves.
Check thoroughly before lighting
Before you set fire to your bonfire, check for hedgehogs,frogs, toads and newts. You can do this with a broom handle (or a non sharp stick), and by lifting the material in sections to check.
Light on one side first
Rather than lighting the whole bonfire all the way round, consider lighting it in sections. If you start on one side, the other will eventually catch fire, but you will have given wildlife the chance to escape first.
Set up another home for them
Either set aside some of the bonfire materials, or purchase a hedgehog house, as a way to entice the animals to settle down elsewhere. This is also a good way to help them in the long run; you are burning their natural habitat, so providing them with a purpose built nest is a great idea.
Protect the environment
Location is important
Do not be tempted to make your bonfire close to low hanging branches and bushes. This is risky and could cause unwanted fires and excess smoke to pass through habitats.
Keep fireworks safe
If you have a firework display, do not attach Catherine wheels them to trees. When you have finished, be sure to clean up the debris as small animals could investigate and become stuck or get harmed.
Have you made your bonfire wildlife-friendly?