It’s that time of year for clearing out the debris, cutting back and generally tidying up the garden area before the winter season rolls in, but before you put your garden clutter in a pile for burning, here’s a few useful tips to ensure you’ve taken every effort to avoid hurting any precious wildlife such as hedgehogs, toads, frog and news and slow worms that may be hiding underneath.
Build your bonfire on the day you plan to light it and if you’ve already built one, move it to another location. You will effectively be remaking the bonfire but in doing this, allows any living creatures underneath a chance to escape.
Using a torch, have a really thorough peek through the woodpile just before you light the fire to be certain that nothing has crawled in without you noticing.
Add an alternative location for creatures to hide. It’s a good idea to leave some dead wood and old leaves as a safe area for wildlife to take shelter away from the bonfire pile.
If you witness any wildlife beneath your bonfire it is recommended that you remove the animal (while wearing gloves) to a safer location such as under a shrub or tree or a sheltered area away from harsh weather conditions, and of course a safe distance from the fire.
Be sure that the fire is put out safely before leaving it. Large piles of ash can remain very hot for days afterwards and unsuspecting animals may walk over hot embers causing serious injury themselves.
Don’t forget to clear up afterwards. Dangerous debris such as metals, plastics and containers can be harmful to wildlife. Plastics and man made rubbish can choke, tangle or trap animals so be sure to bag up the bit’s that won’t rot and dispose of them correctly.
Don’t forget the rest of your garden inhabitants. Remember to keep any bonfires at a safe distance from trees. Not only is this to avoid spreading a fire but to reduce distress or disturbances to tree dwelling wildlife such as squirrels and nesting birds.
With November around the corner and Guy Fawkes Night approaching; if you’re planning to use fireworks, then please familiarise yourself with additional precautions for the safety of yourself and the surrounding nature and wildlife.
To ensure a safer habitat for your garden residents why not consider extending the ways in which your outdoor space can provide safety and comfort to insects, mammals and amphibians.
We have a wonderful range of ponds, pumps, filters, plants and gravel and very knowledgeable staff on site that can offer advice or answer your questions so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice should you need it.
If you’re catering to the needs of garden animals such as birds, squirrels and hedgehogs, we offer various shelter and housing solutions as well as foods specific for their dietary needs. Hedgehogs are dangerously lactose intolerant so a small shallow bowl of water and some dry hedgehog food (Tom Chambers Hungry Hedgehog food- £4.00 for 0.75g bag – price as of October 2018) will do just nicely.