TREVOR WEEKS: Remember wildlife welfare on the Fifth of November

Quavers Family SUS-161031-090012001
Quavers Family SUS-161031-090012001

Remember remember the Fifth of November and every other day between now and the spring for burnt hedgehogs, scared wildlife and pets when considering lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks.

I’m not against fireworks or bonfires and would much rather people attend organised displays rather than set of fireworks in back gardens.

Every year hundreds of hedgehogs either die or crawl out of bonfire with burns after their hibernation home is set alight.

Asleep birds and bats are disturbed as firework are set off into trees or fire lit too close to hedgehogs and trees.

Taking care at this time of year will ensure that any celebrations taking place minimise the disturbance and danger to our wildlife who we share our environment with.

WRAS has produced the following top ten tips for keeping hedgehogs and other wildlife safe during the bonfire season:

1. Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible.

2. Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.

3. With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an overhang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside.

4. Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape.

5. Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire.

6. Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes.

7. Use fireworks away from trees and woodland.

8. Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden.

9. Have a bucket of water available in care you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire.

10. Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty.

The day has come when hedgehog mum Quaver has been separated from her babies so that she can go home and get ready for the winter.

We have timed it just right as she was starting to want to distance herself from them as they get older.

These have certainly been a tricky family.

Five babies originally, but three were very cold when they came in.

Amazingly mum kept them all alive, but when the biggest two babies were nearly 100g the smallest three were between 41 and 48grams!

Two of the youngsters developed really quickly leaving three siblings behind developing a large weight difference.

This often happens in the wild result in many of the youngsters dying in the nest.

Wotsit, Pringle and Twiglet we closely monitored and eventually removed from mum as they were struggling to compete with the large siblings.

It is important to keep then with mum for as long as possible so they get the benefit of their mums milks.

Sadly Wotsit did not thrive, and although she did well for a couple of weeks she faded away.

Mum has now been released back in Coast Road Pevensey Bay where found so she can prepare for the winter, and her young are now at the Casualty Centre but are too small to survive hibernation so will be staying with us till the spring.

Ambulances have been busy this week dealing with calls to a hedgehog too small to hibernate in North Way, Seaford, weighing only 390 grams, a small hedgehog in Brown Jack Avenue in Polegate and another in Firle Road, Seaford. Ambulances also attended to a sparrowhawk trapped in a building off Northbourne Road, Eastbourne, which rescuer Tony managed to catch.

After a check over at the Casualty Centre the bird was taken back and released. I attended a road casualty gull in Pembury Road, Eastbourne, late at night which seems to have had a collision possible with a car.

Chris and I also had to rescue a gull found floating at the edge of Princes Park, Eastbourne, with two badly broken legs which had to be rushed to the Eastbourne vets.

An ambulance rushed to a road casualty badger on East Dean Road but sadly it passed away before they arrived.

We also rushed to the infamous Cross Levels Way buzzard which was hit twice by vehicles, sadly the buzzard had to be put to sleep due to its injuries.

A little goldcrest was delivered by WRAS volunteer Lucy to WRAS’s Casualty Centre after being found grounded.

However, after assessment, the little chap was lively and alert and showing no signs of illness or injured so taken back out for release.