Bonfire Night may be a fun night for us, but it is one of the biggest risks of the year for hedgehogs. As hedgehogs continue to search for the most secure and safe place for them to hibernate through the winter, they may come across a bonfire and think this is a safe hibernation spot. That’s why we’ve put together a few steps for you to take to help keep your local hogs safe on Bonfire Night.
Build your bonfire as close to the celebration as possible
Even though it may be more convenient for you to build your bonfire earlier in the day or even the day before, this will give hedgehogs more time to find their way into the pile of wood and make themselves comfortable. It also means there is more of a risk of more than one hedgehog finding their way into the bonfire. That’s why it’s much safer for you to build your bonfire as close to the start of the evening’s celebrations as possible, giving your local hedgehogs less time to get in the pile.
Regularly check your bonfire
As hedgehogs will be looking for the safest, most secure spots possible for hibernation, they will be burrowing themselves into your bonfire as much as possible. That’s why it’s important that you regularly check your bonfire for any hedgehogs who may have gotten in. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, make sure to check the pile by gently lifting pieces of the wood section by section, making sure not to disturb the hedgehogs too much. You should use a blunt object like a pole to lift the pieces of wood, as using something sharper or harder like a spade or fork could accidentally harm the hedgehog.
If you do find a hedgehog, place it in a high-sided cardboard box with plenty of towelling. Make sure there are air holes in the box before securely placing the lid on the box, as hedgehogs are gifted climbers. Put the box in a safe place away from the bonfire. Once the celebrations are over and the bonfire is completely dampened, you can release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs far away from the remains of the bonfire.
Put up chicken wire around the bonfire
No matter how careful and vigilant you are, there’s always a chance of a hedgehog slipping past your notice and getting into your bonfire. That’s why it’s important to take precautionary measures to ensure they can’t get to the pile. You can do this by putting chicken wire around the bonfire to keep hedgehogs out. The wire should be held in place with stakes, with the wire sloping outward at an angle to prevent hedgehogs climbing the wire.
Remove all litter and firework debris
It’s a guarantee that there will be a lot of mess after the celebrations are over. With people gathering around to watch the bonfire, there will be litter gathering around the area that could be harmful to not only hedgehogs, but all local wildlife if not properly disposed of. There will also be a lot of firework debris on the nearby grounds that can be harmful too. That’s why it is essential that you properly dispose of litter around the area as soon as the celebrations have finished.