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Remember, Remember, to check for wildlife before lighting your bonfires

PUBLISHED: 16:22 02 November 2018

Hedgehog mum burned by a bonfire in 2015 and taken to RSPCA East Winch centre. Photo: RSPCA

Hedgehog mum burned by a bonfire in 2015 and taken to RSPCA East Winch centre. Photo: RSPCA

RSPCA

Animal lovers are urging people to check for any wildlife that could be hiding inside your bonfires as firework night approaches.

Two hoglets that were burned by a bonfire in 2017 and taken to RSPCA East Winch centre. Photo: RSPCATwo hoglets that were burned by a bonfire in 2017 and taken to RSPCA East Winch centre. Photo: RSPCA

Alison Charles, centre manager at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, fears that wildlife such as hedgehogs could be burned to death or seriously injured.

“We are reminding people to always check their bonfires and ideally please only build them on the day they are going to be lit and not before, to ensure hedgehogs and other animals don’t climb inside.

“A pile of leaves or wood is an attractive nesting place for many wild animals especially hedgehogs.”

Ms Charles said in 2015 a family of hedgehogs were brought into the centre that had been burned after they were in a bonfire which had been set alight.

She said: “Wildlife can sadly be burned to death by bonfires so organisers should check them carefully before lighting to make sure there are no wild animals nesting or hiding inside. It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, or move them before lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit. And remember that some animals like hedgehogs may be hibernating and will not be immediately obvious.”

The warning also extends to fireworks, and some species, such as dogs and cats are unable to cope with the loud noises. The RSPCA produced a survey in February this year which shows that 38pc of dogs are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks, meaning thousands of animals’ lives are made a misery by fireworks every year.

RSPCA campaign manager Eloise Shavelar said: “There is current legislation in place but the RSPCA believes the law does not go far enough.

“We want to see the UK government take advantage of the public’s feeling on this by strengthening the existing acts and restricting the use of fireworks to traditional days of the year like bonfire night.

“To be clear we are not calling for a restriction to public displays but it is the unexpected noise which owners cannot plan for which we want to stop.”

More information and resources about how reduce stress in animals during fireworks season visit www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks

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