A Rotherham hedgehog rescue has warned the public to check bonfires for wildlife on the lead up to Bonfire Night.

Wath Hedgehog Rescue and Rehabilitation ‘dread this time of year’ as the animals crawl into unlit bonfires, whilst they forage for food and a place to nest.

Debbie Harrison, 48, Manager at the Rescue said: “It’s just awful. A lot of autumn juveniles are now looking for winter nests and some will find bonfires very snug and dry. It causes horrendous injuries and obviously deaths to dear hedgehogs.”

A hedgehog suffering from burn injuries.

The sanctuary advised the public to carry out checks by feeling around the inside of their bonfires and using a pair of gardening gloves before lighting them.

Since 2000, The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs reported the number of hedgehogs had fallen by about 50% as of 2018.

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The Wath Upon Dearne resident added: “Hedgehogs help the ecosystem as they mainly eat insects. Hedgehogs have a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

“Hedgehog numbers are in severe decline and I would hate to see them become extinct. They are suffering terribly with loss of cosy gardens with hedges and shrubbery, or the loss of habitat due to new builds. There are also the roads which take so many casualties.

“At the rescue we endeavour to put them back where they were found if possible, or find them an alternative if not.”

The team at the rescue work on a volunteer basis and rely on the public’s donations to keep it running. 

To donate visit the rescue’s  Facebook page.