Keep a look out for hedgehogs when building bonfires

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Wildlife lovers in South Yorkshire are being urged to look out for spiky friends while building their bonfires this November 5.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has warned hedgehogs can be found taking cover in wood piles at this time of year as they look for somewhere to hibernate during the winter.

Joanna Richards from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: “If at all possible do not construct your bonfire until a couple of hours before lighting it.

“This way you reduce the chance of a hedgehog wandering in and settling down.

“If you do find a hedgehog when checking your bonfire before lighting, then keep it in a safe place until your celebrations are over – after that it is then safe to release it back under a hedge or bush.”

Joanna advised those building bonfires to check through their log piles first to ensure there are no hedgehogs hiding in them.

She added people should avoid using spades or forks which could unwittingly hurt hedgehogs and instead use a pair of protective gloves.

Hedgehog populations have declined in the UK over the last decade although it is not known why.

Factors could include increased use of pesticides.