With Covid 19 cancelling most big firework carnivals in the area, it is likely that people will be having their firework celebrations in their gardens more this year. With more bonfires being built, this increases the chance of our gorgeous little hedgehogs being injured or, unfortunately, dying. Having been a nurse at St. Anne’s for over 18 years, this is something I’ve seen far too frequently.
If you are going to have a bonfire, please relocate the pile just before lighting. Moving the bonfire too far in advance could mean that hedgehogs still find their way into it. If relocating your bonfire is impossible, please take a round-ended broom handle (not a fork or something similar that could harm the hedgehog) and gently and cautiously poke into the bonfire. Make sure everyone is quiet whilst doing this, in several places, because a disturbed hedgehog will make a hissing sound. If you do hear the hissing sound, you know you cannot light the fire.
Don’t think a fence around the unlit fire will stop them either, hedgehogs are better at climbing than you think!
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society advises that if you find a hedgehog, use gardening gloves (not only to protect you from their spikes but also to not transfer human scent onto them) to pick them up and as much of their nest as possible. Place them in a high sided box (because they’re such great climbers), with a lid with air holes in the top. Put the box somewhere quiet like a shed and wait until the fire has burnt out and cooled down before releasing them under a hedge or behind a stack of logs.
Also, if you are planning on having fireworks, please let your neighbours know, so they can take action to help prevent their pets from becoming very distressed.