Autumn is here, Halloween is less than two weeks away and Guy Fawkes night follows closely behind. Most of you will be carving pumpkins and building bonfires, a tradition held by many in the UK and around the world, but what happens to the pumpkins once Halloween is over? While we cosy up by the fireplace and enjoy central heating and food in abundance, many species of UK wildlife begin their struggle to make it through the winter. So, what can we do to help them?
Once you have finished trick-or-treating and the time for celebrating ghosts and ghouls is over, you can move your carved pumpkins into the garden or into the woods to feed countless animals including birds and insects. Even when carving your pumpkins, you can collect the seeds and scatter them for birds. This means that not an inch of pumpkin is wasted, and UK wildlife are given much needed support to survive the cold winter.
Now that Halloween is done and dusted, we can look forward to bonfire night, but please be aware of small prickly critters that like to curl up and sleep in pre-made log piles. Hedgehogs will happily climb inside a bonfire before it is lit, as these piles of logs and leaves provide the perfect spot for a nap. Unfortunately, many people do not know to check their bonfires before lighting them and many hedgehogs are badly maimed or burnt alive.
To avoid this tragic loss of one of the UKs best loved mammals please refrain from building your bonfires until the night you plan on lighting them. If this is not possible, please check your bonfire for sleeping hogs before lighting that match. This can be done easily and quickly by using the end of a broom handle (or similar) to feel around the base and centre of the bonfire.
These tips and tricks can mean life or death for many of our beloved animal species and are quick and easy to do. Enjoy the autumn season and the many holidays to come and support our wildlife at the same time.