THOUSANDS of British animals will die this weekend - burned alive in Guy Fawkes Night bonfires. In numbers, most of them will be hedgehogs but they will also include field mice, voles, and the hibernating chrysalides of butterflies and moths.
They will have taken refuge in bonfires which have been prepared over the past few weeks, either for November 5th or to burn garden waste, looking for nice snug winter quarters.
The death toll could be even higher this year than normal because of the long Indian summer throughout September and early October, which was only ended by frosts three weeks ago. This allowed many mammals and insects to remain active as many bonfires were being prepared.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society is urging people to move their bonfire piles to another location on the day it is to be lit by lifting it on poles. Any hedgehogs found in the remains should be moved to another suitable hibernation site, along with their nesting materials.