Bonfire night can be a worrying time for hedgehogs. But bonfires, when lit, may also be a potential death trap for some garden frogs and toads, say experts at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.
Like hedgehogs, amphibians (frogs, toads and newts) seek out sheltered parts of gardens in the autumn weather to prepare for the cold winter. Unlit bonfires can be perfect because they offer protection from predators, and because they attract amphibian prey including woodlice, worms, spiders and beetles.
“Garden frogs, toads and newts can be very active at this time of year as they look to stock up on invertebrate prey for winter,” said Dr. John Wilkinson of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, a national wildlife charity.
“We advise that people avoid making up their bonfires until the day they’re to be lit – better still make up a similar stack of logs and branches in the corner of your garden and leave it for the frogs.”
Although people may think of amphibians as creatures that occur only in the countryside, gardens are important refuges for many of them.
Losses of ponds in the wider countryside have reduced the habitat available to many of these species: of the UK’s 13 species of amphibians and reptiles, 10 are listed on the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) ‘watchlist’.
For more information on looking after amphibians in your garden visit: www.arc-trust.org/dragons