With the approach of Halloween and Bonfire Night, the Blandford Hedgehog Group is urging people to consider their pets and wild animals, and particularly hedgehogs.
Their spokesperson Denise Montague said: “We are all aware that fireworks cause considerable stress to our pets as well as the wildlife but bonfires are also a great hazard. Hedgehogs sleep during the day and forage at night so if you are planning a bonfire whether private or public, please move it on the day you plan to light it.
“Hopefully if there are any nesting/sleeping hedgehogs underneath they will scuttle away and you can enjoy your evening without burning a small, lovely creature to death.
“It is the time of year when some females will have given a later birth to hoglets which need to stay close to their mum for at least six weeks, until they are able to forage for themselves.
“If you uncover or disturb a nest please try to catch the mum, throw a towel, jumper or coat over her, use gloves to collect the hoglets and as much of the nest material as possible and put with mum in a box. Then contact a Rescue, vets or us.
“It is important not to handle hoglets with bare hands as mum will reject them.
“Blandford Hedgehog Group have a FB page and work closely with the Blandford vets and our local Rescues. We do not believe that the amount of roadkill lately mean that hedgehog numbers are increasing, but that it is due to habitat fragmentation and destruction due to construction, clearing of hedges and deep undergrowth.
“Please help our lovely spiky friends by making hedgehog highways through your adjoining garden fences/hedges etc so enable them to move easily between gardens and stay off the roads, and continue to leave shallow saucers of water out, even through the winter.
“They drink a lot of water and it can be a lifesaver.”