Autumn is here bringing with it changes in the environment, wildlife and exciting seasonal celebrations like Halloween, and of course, Bonfire Night. While the fireworks of Bonfire Night can be magical for most, they can have a detrimental effect on the wildlife around us.
In most places you’ll find hedgehogs, foxes and perhaps even a badger or two. With more than 400 species of mammals, birds and plants expected to become extinct over the past 200 years in the UK, it’s our responsibility to look out for our furry friends.
ClearitWaste.co.uk have you covered with their top tips on how to protect the wildlife exploring your garden on bonfire night and throughout autumn. In September, the Natural History Museum reported that the UK has ‘led the world’ in destroying the natural environment with extensive agricultural lands and road networks, in combination with other factors, the wildlife has reduced in the UK to a point hardly seen elsewhere.
There are many things you can do to protect wildlife such as following these tips, and checking in with your local RSPCA help centre. So, what are the top tips for protecting wildlife this bonfire night? Here’s everything you need to know.
Top ten tips to protect wildlife during bonfire night
1. Set up your bonfire away from the compost heap
Leaves and garden debris can be used to help light a bonfire. However, you should set up the bonfire away from any large piles of leaves or compost heaps as wildlife will often use the heaps for shelter when hibernating.
2. Check your bonfire before lighting
Make sure you check your bonfire pit before lighting a fire.Small animals such as hedgehogs are prone to settle among logs and leaves, and due to their size and colour can sometimes be hard to spot.
3. Clear your garden of any used sparklers and decorations
Sparklers are a popular fireworks for bonfire night, but are often not disposed of properly. Make sure to clear any from your garden, soak them and then bin with normal waste. It is also a good idea to clear any leftover halloween decorations from your garden, as animals can mistake them for food or become tangled up in them.
4. Be careful when gardening
Autumn is a popular time for planting. However, be careful when preening your garden in the months of October to April, as this is when most nocturnal animals choose to hibernate.
It may be tempting to clear out all the debris, leaves and twigs, but avoid this and refer back to tip number one.
5. Try not to disturb hibernating animals
If you do end up disturbing any wildlife, such as a hedgehog, you can simply recover the animal with leaves and avoid further upheaval in that area until early spring.
6. Create a Hedgehog house
If you want to go one step further to shelter small animals in your garden, you can create a hedgehog house. Find a quiet spot and a wooden box. Fill the box with leaves, straw or hay and then create a tunnel joining to the larger leaf filled box. This becomes a cosy place for hedgehogs or other small animals to take shelter/hibernate through winter.
The same can be done for a frog home using broken plant pots, soil and rocks, although it is advised to place it around or near the edge of any garden ponds. Plant pots are also great shelters for smaller insects.
7. Install a bird feeder or leave safe food out
Bird feeders are a great way to attract not only birds but other small animals such as squirrels. However, not all wildlife are able to climb to reach bird feeders so you can leave out safe foods for other animals.
Safe foods for foxes, badgers and hedgehogs can be meat based dog or cat food, or if you feel so inclined specialist feed from a pet store. For animals going into hibernation, this is known as supplementary feeding. Water is also a great and safe option for wildlife.
8. Do not use chemical repellents
Try to avoid any chemical repellents such as slug pellets. Slugs and other small insects are a source of food for hedgehogs and wildlife, and the pellets themselves are toxic. Make sure to check your gardening supplies for potentially toxic ingredients and check your garden for any harmful waste.
9. Pet proof your garden
Try to cordon off areas you know wildlife will gather and accompany pets, such as dogs, outside when necessary. This will prevent your dog from disturbing any hibernating animals sheltered in your garden.
10. Enter your attic safely
Wildlife are not only found in your garden but can also take shelter in your attic. So when moving around try not to disturb any bats, birds or even butterflies should you find any.