BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

Please #rememberhedgehogs on Bonfire Night

BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

With bonfire night and Halloween fast approaching, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is urging people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from appalling suffering.

This will not only save wildlife from burning to death but will also stop the bonfire from getting soaked should it rain the night before! Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS, said “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting. Ensure it’s moved to clear ground – never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under.”

If a large bonfire must be built in advance, protect it whilst building by putting some chicken wire, at least one-metre-high, all the way around the bottom. This should be held in place with stakes and the wire should slope outwards at an angle to make it difficult to climb, as hedgehogs are good climbers! In case you have missed anything light the fire from one side only and keep people away from the unlit side so that any hedgehogs can hopefully escape in peace.

If, whilst building, a bonfire is left unattended, for however short a time, it’s imperative to check for young children, hedgehogs and other animals, including family pets, before lighting. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, check by gently lifting the bonfire section by section with a pole or broom. Never use a spade or fork as these can stab them. Using a torch will help to see and listen for a hissing sound, as this is the noise they make when disturbed. Fay continues “If hedgehogs are found, take as much of the nest as you can and place them in a high-sided cardboard or plastic box with plenty of newspaper/old towelling. Ensure there are air holes in the lid and that the lid is secured firmly to the box, as hedgehogs are great climbers. Wear garden gloves so as not to get human smells on them and to keep them calm as hedgehogs are easily stressed – also, it protects your hands from their spikes. Put the box in a safe quiet place such as a shed or garage well away from the festivities, offer specialist hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food and water. Once the bonfire is totally dampened down, release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs.”

Going to an official organised fireworks display is a far safer option for both humans and animals!

Help raise awareness using our collection of downloadable posters:

BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

Hedgehog Highway Petition

Hedgehog Highway Petition
– faster than Sonic!

A petition on calling on Housing and Planning Minister Kit Malthouse to make the integration of hedgehog highways compulsory in all new build housing developments has taken everyone by surprise. In just two weeks over 300,000 people have signed!

Why has this taken the public by storm? The hedgehog is the nation’s favourite animal – every poll tells the same story. Yet the hedgehog is suffering from a dramatic population decline. The latest State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report from the Hedgehog Street Campaign shows how in just the last 18 years urban hedgehog numbers are down by 30% and rural hedgehogs down by 50%.

Hugh Warwick, Ecologist, Author and Communications Officer for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) started the petition “We know that hedgehog numbers are declining,” he said, “and we know that one of the biggest problems they face is the way we chop our land up into smaller pieces. This often happens when new fences are put in place – and as we are facing a house building boom there are going to be hundreds of thousands of new barriers to hedgehog movement.”

Photo Credit – Zoe Broughton

Perhaps surprisingly, new housing can help hedgehogs, if it is done with wildlife in mind. The petition is calling on Kit Malthouse to do just that – make sure all new fences have hedgehog holes built into them. Just a 13cm square, these holes help hedgehogs move the considerable distances we know they can travel each night – over a mile is not uncommon.

Hugh continues “Couple this with wildlife sensitive planting, ponds, and bat and swift bricks, new housing estates can offer homes for hedgehogs and other wildlife as well as for people.”

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS adds “This petition is aimed at making new build sites better for hedgehogs, but improvements can also easily be made in existing homes too!  Hedgehog Street is a project we run with People’s Trust for Endangered Species and its website offers a wealth of information and advice for homeowners wanting to help our prickly friends, you can even sign up to be a Hedgehog Champion!”

Our Award Winning Hedgehog Close Film

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is delighted to have scooped prestigious accolades at the Charity Film Awards held in London on 11th May.  Their Hedgehog Close film held off fierce competition to be placed silver in their category and honoured with the overall People’s Choice Award. 


Hedgehog Close was created to spread the word about how to help hedgehogs and make people aware of their plight. Voiced by Gordon Buchanan and created by Zest Productions, the ‘Aardman-esque’ film has been widely shared on social media and viewed by well over a million people to date.


Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS said “We were so pleased to have won a silver award, you could have knocked us down with a feather when our little charity was called up to the stage to collect the major People’s Choice Award!  There were so many wonderful Charities and causes represented on the evening, many far larger organisations than us, so we were especially grateful to have received the most votes from our fantastic supporters.”


Simon Burton, Co-Founder of the Awards praised BHPS saying “The Charity Film Awards is all about films that change behaviour. Hedgehog Close does an incredible job of motivating that change. I don’t know a single person who’s seen the film who hasn’t told me that they’ve cut a hole in their fence to make a hedgehog highway. A brilliant film.”


Film Director, Tom Hooker added “When we first began moulding plasticine hedgehogs and building cardboard houses we never imagined the film would be so widely seen and successful. It was fantastic to be recognised amongst so many other brilliant charities.”


Fay says the awards were even more special being collected at the end of a very busy Hedgehog Awareness Week organised by the Charity each year.  “Being presented with the awards, by our lovely Patron David Domoney, was the icing on the #hedgehogweek cake!”


The Charity hope this will boost the popularity of the film even more resulting in more people finding out all about our humble hedgehog.  Hedgehog Close can be viewed below.


The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018

Today our Hedgehog Street project launched the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report. Hedgehog Street is a partnership between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species.