Watch out for frogs and toads in your bonfire pile.

It’s that time of year again when we build bonfires, nibble on a toffee apple and make pretty patterns in the air with a sparkler.  We would just like to remind you of the wildlife which could be hiding in your bonfires.

Common Female Toad by A Price

Common Female Toad by Alan Price Gatehouse Studio

In autumn, hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots. We are asking people to have a quick look out for any creatures which could be snuggling in amongst the logs and sticks.

People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire,  But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed. Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged.

We advise that fires are be built on the day that they are to be lit. Wood piles can be made before this but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day.

Amphibians can be encouraged away from the main bonfire by creating smaller log piles which frogs, toads and newts love and before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it’s a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in. It is also a good idea to create a safe place for your hedgehogs and a a guide to making a hedgehog hibernation box (200KB) can be downloaded.