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How to protect wildlife in a heatwave

Words by Smiley Team

Brits don’t always fare well in a heatwave – especially when there’s a lack of air conditioning, and public transport goes down the pan.

But during this hot weather spell, it’s time to look out for our wildlife, too.

People are being encouraged to pop out fresh water for wildlife in the heat. A saucer at ground level can provide much-needed drink for small mammals. For birds, you can put a saucer or some type of container off ground level (so cats don’t get it first). 

“Water is essential for wildlife to thrive, but it isn’t just for drinking,” explain charity, The Wildlife Trusts. “Amphibians like newts, frogs and toads use water as shelter and breeding grounds. Butterflies get valuable minerals and salts from slightly muddy water, and birds use water to bathe and remove parasites.”

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The CEO of British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), Fay Vass, said doing this can actually save small animals lives. "Water and food is scarce for hedgehogs when it's hot and dry, making water available can literally save a life,” she said

"Pop a few pebbles in to make sure insects can escape and if you can, offer visiting hedgehogs some meaty cat or dog food [on a separate bowl] too,” she advised. 

Want to get involved? Here are 6 ways to protect wildlife in the summer, thanks to The Wildlife Trusts.

Top tips for providing water for wildlife:

1. Use a specially made bird bath, or just a bowl on the floor – you’ll attract different creatures to different settings.

2. Place water for birds near a shrub or tree as they like to approach from a place of safety.

3. Watch for predators such as cats.

4. Leave water where you can easily access it for cleaning and filling.

5. Introduce a small, shallow or running water feature and provide water for birds, as well as butterflies and other insects. Even an old sink can be turned into a water feature. 

6Dig a pond and attract even more wildlife into your garden, from frogs and toads, to dragonflies and herons. Remember to provide shallow edges so anything that falls in can get back out again.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: Find out how you can support The Wildlife Trusts and help protect life on our land.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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