Within the month of November 1605, 36 barrels of gunpowder were smuggled into the House of Lords in an attempt to blow up the British parliament. This terrorist attack, brought along by King Charles’ apparent discrimination of the Roman Catholic faith, was led by a man named Robert Catesby and his trusted gunpowder expert, Guy Fawkes. However, due to an anonymous warning letter, this attack was prevented, thus saving hundreds of lives. This day therefore came to be a celebratory day, commonly known as ‘Bonfire night’.
Nowadays, bonfire night is honoured with huge firework displays or the setting up large bonfires for all to see. Unfortunately, although these events are often set up to celebrate the survival of hundreds of people, there are in fact some very deadly consequences of doing so. Unlike the actual day that occurred in 1605, there are in fact many casualties of these bonfire night traditions.
November is the month of earlier nights and colder mornings. This is an indication to the start of hedgehog hibernation season. Throughout Britain, many hedgehogs and other small animals suffer the risk of being burned alive when unfortunately mistaking the large pile of logs in your back garden as a cosy, safe haven to spend their winter months. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has urged those who are planning to have a bonfire to set up on the actual day rather than the night before as a means to further prevent the unnecessary deaths of our gardens little visitors. In addition to this, regular checks should be made before lighting the bonfire to ensure there haven’t been any last moment check-ins. Hedgehogs are a popular species among gardeners, as they are a form of free pest control that can clear up a garden full of plant eating bugs and slugs, and although they’re classed within the ‘least concern’ category of the IUCN red list, it would be a shame to see their populations fall further into decline.