Is Bonfire Night a Damp Squib for Nature?

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HKRCookie07 investigates the effects of Bonfire Night on animals with the RSPB and RSPCA.

Every year as the nights draw in, there comes the time that for me is just a cause of disappointment. Weeks before the actual event, for some reason during the day; fireworks. For millions, there seems to be a genuine thrill in making things go boom and seeing bright lights in the sky. Yet for our furry friends, this time of year brings about a time of fear. I spoke to animal charities about the effects that bonfire night has on pets and nature.


Firstly, I spoke with David Green from the RSPCA.

What could people do to make bonfire night more suitable for pets?

Have an area that your pets can hide in if they feel scared. Put on some music or the TV on full volume so they’re concentrated on that.

What can fireworks do to animals?

They can cause serious distress and cause the animals to do stuff that they wouldn’t normally do.

What could help pets feel better?

If you give them lots of affection and play with them more than you usually would.


Next I spoke with Eleri Wynne from RSPB.

What effect do fireworks have on wildlife?

There’s little evidence to suggest that fireworks significantly harm the conservation status of our birds and wildlife, however setting off fireworks close to roosting spots could cause a disturbance.

What could people do to make sure that no wildlife gets destroyed or hurt?

When it’s dark, trees and bushes become roosting sites so loud bangs and flashing lights could unsettle birds and other animals and cause them to move on. Every movement made in the cold weather uses up vital energy supplies, so unnecessary travel to find a quieter home could have a detrimental effect.

Do you see any cases linked between bonfire night?

In terms of advice, when you’re putting the final touches to your bonfire heap we’d advise looking out for species such as hedgehogs, frogs, toads, slow worms and grass snakes, who all use log piles to sleep in during winter. Log piles and leaves are the perfect places for hibernating hedgehogs, amphibians and reptiles and they will usually be buried right at the bottom so it’s best to build your bonfire on the day you plan to light it to ensure nobody’s using it!


I have two pet guinea pigs and they both get terrified during bonfire night. They barely move whilst the fireworks are going off. I also have a cat, and she runs away and hides behind the settee and we can’t get her out. She’ll only come out when she hears no fireworks for ages.

I don’t see why we celebrate bonfire night. In America, they set off fireworks on the 4th of July because of a declaration of independence, but we set off fireworks because someone failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament. What is the point? Fireworks cause so much stress to animals, and it’s all because of something that failed.

Cover photo: Peter Spencer from Pexels


Related articles and info:

RSPCA’s guide to fireworks and animal welfare

Environment

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Book Review: Not Yet Dark by Simon P. Clark

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