Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

With Wales under a two-week lockdown, the usual bonfire night events will not take place. But if you’re planning your own bonfire in the garden, watch out for those hedgehogs!

There’s nothing quite like bonfire night. The vibrant colours of fireworks in the sky, varying sounds from all directions near and far, that unique smoky taste in the night air. These things are of course not for all of us - but for those of us choosing to indulge in bonfire night activities, it is imperative that we consider the effects they have on our wildlife.  

Autumn is a time of great change – we reach for those extra layers of clothing, we start to see our breath in the cool outdoor air, and the browning leaves fall making a carpet of earthy colour on our streets, parks and lawns. And in the corner of your garden, while it may just look like a simple pile of leaves, it could well mean much more to some our little wild friends.

By November, hedgehogs across Wales will be looking to bid goodnight for a lengthy time of hibernation. And of course, what better place for them to curl up and put their heads down for a well-deserved kip than in middle of a pile of warm cosy leaves, safe from the harm of predation and the varying elements that autumn and winter’s weather permits!

Of course, dry leaves also make for great burning material, and will be a popular fixture on bonfires across the country. For many, that pile of leaves in the garden will a provide the perfect base for a bonfire and will be built upon with all kinds of other burning materials with no thorough inspection. And it this is where the problem lies. We cannot stress how important it is for you to inspect that pile of leaves before burning. Too often, a fun and heart-warming bonfire created by and for people’s enjoyment ends in tragedy for hedgehogs, voles, mice and other kinds of wildlife.  

So, make sure to give those leaves a good poke before building the bonfire with a blunt stick and make sure to give the hedgehog, or other creatures, ample time to wake up and make its way to another safe haven before proceeding. Be sure also not to touch hedgehogs, as they do carry plenty of nasty germs which are not good for us.

For more ways of how to help our ‘hogs, click here!