Guy Fawkes Night revellers are being urged to watch out for hedgehogs before they light their bonfire on the 5th November.

Carmarthenshire Biodiversity officers supported by Carmarthenshire Environment Partnership say hedgehogs are preparing for are preparing for hibernation and may use unlit bonfires assuming that they will be a cosy location over the winter.

Many people start building their bonfires well before Bonfire Night. This allows hedgehogs (and other small animals) time to investigate and start using these inviting woodpiles. Obviously lighting these without taking special care can mean that many hedgehogs are killed.

If you are planning a bonfire please help keep hedgehogs safe from harm by following these simple guidelines:

Try and build the bonfire as close to the night as possible to reduce the chance of a hedgehog moving in.

Ideally make your pile of material next to the bonfire site and re-build the stack prior to lighting.

Before lighting, search the bonfire for hibernating creatures using a torch and rake, to gently pull back twigs or vegetation.

Move any hedgehogs found to a ready-made hedgehog box or somewhere dry and safe away from the fire.

If possible, before Bonfire Night create an alternative hedgehog home by raking up grass cuttings or autumn leaves and twigs into a pile a safe distance from the fire. Hopefully the hedgehogs will occupy these rather than the bonfire.

Carmarthenshire’s biodiversity officer Isabel Macho said: “Hedgehogs are great friends to gardeners and natural slug control. However, they are declining in number and we need to help them whenever we can. Just by taking special care on bonfire night we can help them survive to breed next spring.”

CEP development officer Anna Patterson said: “I would urge people to follow these simple guidelines to help save the lives of hedgehogs and protect the environment.”

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