Hugh Warwick is passionate about hedgehogs and the need to reverse the decline of one of our most enchanting mammals. Here is his autumn advice in relation to bonfires…
Bonfires and hedgehogs are tragically related … especially at this time of the year.
If you want to build the perfect hedgehog hibernaculum (the special nest they use for hibernation) I would suggest gathering a big pile of dry leaves, then surrounding these with a tent of twigs. Around this, build a structure of heavier and larger pieces of wood – until you have got an amazing …. bonfire.
PLEASE – please do one of three things.
1 – Safest is to build your bonfire on the day you want to light it.
2 – If that is impossible, then please do check – blunt end of a garden rake poked into the base, then lever it all up and rescue whoever might be living there.
3 – Finally, for large events where this is impossible, consider surrounding the structure with hedgehog proof fencing. That might sound like a lot of work, but do you really want to risk an incinerated hedgehog on your conscience?
And please don’t burn your leaves! Hedgehogs cannot survive hibernation without an insulating layer of leaves.
There are many more simple ideas to help hedgehogs at Hedgehog Street and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Drop by their websites and have a look. And if you want more … I will shamelessly point you to A Prickly Affair and Hedgehog, the two (very different) books I have written about our favourite.
Hugh also has a current petition which needs a million signatures. It is over half way there!
It is a call for Hedgehog Highways to help to prevent hedgehog deaths on roads – another real hazard