Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents who are having bonfires this weekend are being urged to make sure they check for hidden wildlife before striking a match by a local animal rescue charity.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill is urging people to think about any wildlife that could be lurking in heaps of wood and debris, particularly if the Guy Fawkes Night bonfire has been sitting about for a week or two.

The charity’s Samantha Hannay told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are asking members of the public to take two minutes before lighting a bonfire to make sure no animals have tucked themselves in for the night.”

“We’re fantastic at keeping our loved ones safe, but we must never forget about the little wild animals which are vulnerable at this time of year. Those 120 seconds could save many animals.”

The charity says that smaller species of animals are at most risk, particularly hedgehogs.

“With winter temperatures starting to bite, many small animals spend their days and evenings tucked away for warmth, particularly hedgehogs,” Samantha added.

“Hedgehogs are beautiful animals, but they are sadly in long-term decline. We need to make every effort to reverse this, starting this weekend.”

Over the winter months, the charity is expected to admit over 200 poorly and injured hedgehogs susceptible to the elements.

If you find a wild animal that needs help, Secret World offers a free advice service from 8am to 8pm every day, and in the most severe cases, admits poorly animals to its rescue centre for treatment and rehabilitation.