Our bonfire night blog comes from mammal expert Derek Crawley. Derek is a valued and active member of the Mammal Society he has also previously sat on the Society’s Council. He is currently Chair of the Staffordshire Mammal Group and a Regional Coordinator for the National Harvest Mouse Survey.
As Halloween has come and gone what should we do about our leftover ghoulish pumpkins? The best advice for wildlife is to recycle them as bird food, but make sure to string them up above ground as hedgehogs can eat them causing them to get an upset stomach. Guy Fawkes Night comes around quickly after Halloween and so it’s now time to think about hedgehogs and bonfires. Whether it be your own or an organised event care should be taken to wake up and scare sleeping hedgehogs and other animals that might be using these inviting structures as a new home. It does not take long for hedgehogs and small mammal to move into a new habitat pile even if it’s mostly wooden pallets! A top tip is to remember to keep one side clear so any small animal can escape.
However, it’s not just the bonfire that can cause problems, fireworks themselves also cause problems for wildlife and are used on many other occasions including New Year and many big family or public events. Although we enjoy fireworks they are bright and loud and, although not dissimilar to a thunderstorm, their intensity causes a lot of disturbance. Now we know how some house hold pets need to be keep in and shielded from the commotion, well any animals outside are effected in the same way – whether they are domestic like horses and cattle, or wild like foxes, badgers and owls. It’s worth noting that it’s not only mammals that are effected, roosting birds will not be able to settle and will be constantly disturbed or will have to fly to another area. It has even been said that fish are effected by the flashing light!
So this Guy Fawkes Night we ask you to consider what effect you may have with your celebrations. Perhaps time your celebrations in conjunction with what others are doing locally, as it’s better altogether than happening across the whole evening. This allows animals to still hunt or sleep without constantly being re-disturbed.
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