Monday, 29 October 2012

Think about the wildlife



Bonfires
Please see the advice above - many people start building a bonfire months in advance of 5th November. It's normally great to be prepared, but in this case animals like hedgehogs and some mice can move in to the pile of wood, thinking "Great! Somewhere to hibernate!" Then they get burnt to death when the bonfire is lit during their hibernation. Therefore please build bonfires in one location, and move the wood to another place nearby before lighting it, in order to make sure that there is no wildlife nesting in there. Then the bonfire can be a cruelty-free celebration for everyone. There is further advice here.

Fireworks
As well as being a wasteful way of watching your money go up in smoke (and sparks), many domestic pets and wild animals are terrified of fireworks. Therefore, if you must light them, please restrict fireworks to the 5th November only - at least that way it is just one night that scares the animals, not a whole week (or longer) of terror! Better yet, consider something less destructive. Here are some useful links:

Slug pellets and hedgehogs
Please don't use slug pellets in your garden - and if you see a shop selling them, then complain. Some slugs may get poisoned, but then any animals eating them die a slow and painful death. In one night a group of hedgehogs can eat far more slugs than pellets can kill, so you are far better off encouraging hedgehogs than using slug pellets!

Instead create good habitats for hedgehogs.
Sometimes you find a hedgehog that appears to be in distress, or that is out during the day and appears to be disorientated. The good news is that in many cases they can recover quickly if they are just hungry and cold. Occasionally we have rescued some in this state. We put them into a large box in a warm, dark and quiet room with lots of bedding, a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel underneath, and some food and water in a part of the box where they won't knock it over. Twice a day you can change the food, bedding, water and warm water bottle while checking up on them. In the cases we've been involved in the hedgehog has made a quick recovery and been raring to go the next evening as it gets dark. Obviously if there were signs of injury or distress then a vet or wildlife rescue centre would be the best bet. Here is some advice on what to do if you find a hedgehog during the day:

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