As we do every year, Froglife is reminding people to thoroughly check their bonfires for wildlife before lighting them…
At this time of year, reptiles and amphibians are all looking for somewhere safe and frost-free to see out the winter. A big pile of logs, leaves and twigs may be the ingredients for a perfect bonfire, but they’re also an ideal hiding place for all sorts of other garden inhabitants.
Here are a few tips to help make your celebrations more wildlife-friendly:
- Collect your wood and other bonfire materials in a separate place to where you’ll be having the bonfire, and move them just before you want to light the fire, ideally as late in the day as possible. If you’re going to an organised event you could get in touch beforehand and ask if they need any help searching for uninvited guests!
- If you do come across any animals, just transfer them to a similar habitat in another part of the garden. They may be a little disorientated but the disturbance won’t do them any harm.
- Just before lighting, have a last check through with a torch and then ensure the fire is only lit from one side so anything left within has the chance to escape.
- Try to burn only clean, untreated wood on your bonfire, with no nasty varnish, paint or plastics so you don’t release toxic chemicals in the smoke
You could create a permanent log and leaf pile specifically for amphibians, reptiles and other creatures to hide in over winter in a quiet corner of the garden. Other wildlife-friendly features include compost heaps and rockeries. Find out more here.
Don’t forget if you do spot any of our species, use our Dragon Finder App to help identify and record your sightings!
So, have fun this fireworks night but remember what might be buried in your bonfire!