Posted on Wednesday 1st November 2023
Image by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society
Piles of branches and foliage are perfect hiding spaces for hedgehogs to snuggle into, so Staffordshire County Council is asking residents to be extra vigilant as Bonfire Night approaches.
Once common, hedgehogs have undergone a huge decline of up to 75% in parts of the countryside since 2000 so looking after them is paramount.
This is why Staffordshire County Council’s Environment & Countryside Team are urging residents to take these precautions to protect our prickly friends:
Build your bonfire on the day you plan to light it
Check your bonfire piles immediately before lighting them
Put up a barrier around the bonfire
Light your bonfire from one side so any animals still inside have a chance to escape
Consider a bonfire alternative such as a raised fire pit
Attend a public fireworks display instead
Residents keen to see Bonfire Night out with a bang in their own back gardens are being encouraged to purchase silent fireworks to avoid scaring wildlife and pets.
Please remember it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public spaces, including Staffordshire’s country parks.
Anyone using fireworks illegally can face an unlimited fine and be sent to prison for up to six months.
Cabinet member for communities and culture at Staffordshire County Council, Victoria Wilson, said:
“Bonfire Night can be a joyous occasion for many but incredibly scary and dangerous for our local wildlife.
“It’s crucial that we all do our bit to protect hedgehogs and other animals by checking bonfire piles before lighting them and building bonfires at the last minute to prevent any wildlife from moving in.
“It’s also worth asking yourself if you absolutely must have your own bonfire and fireworks. There are plenty of public displays taking place around Staffordshire so I urge people to go to those instead so we can minimise risks of spooking or harming wildlife, pets and livestock.”
Chief Executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Fay Vass, said:
“Bonfire piles look like five-star hotels to a hedgehog – and are built just as they are trying to find a safe place for hibernation.
“It is vital to take these steps to ensure they aren’t harmed. There are lots of other things you can do to help hedgehogs in gardens and green spaces, please see www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk for inspiration!”