A VET who rehomes injured hedgehogs in his garden is appealing to people to check their bonfires before lighting them.
Russell Hall, who runs the Avonvale Veterinary Centres Wellesbourne surgery, said autumn and winter bonfires – especially around Guy Fawkes Night – were bad news for hedgehogs.
Mr Hall said: “Immortalised by Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the British hedgehog is a national treasure that needs to be valued and protected.
“Their numbers have almost halved in the last ten years and they need our help to survive.”
Hedgehogs often hibernate in bonfires and Mr Hall said gardeners and those celebrating November 5 should build their fires at the last minute – and then check them for wildlife before striking the match.
He added: “If you have built your bonfire too far in advance then there is a danger that a hedgehog will have chosen it as cosy place to hibernate.”