Take a walk on the wild side

GARDENERS are being warned to tread carefully to avoid harming the wildlife which may be living in their gardens.

The RSPCA is asking green-fingered residents use take extra caution when tackling their overgrown gardens as summer comes.

A spokesman said: “Every year we receive calls about animals with distressing and often fatal garden injuries which in most cases are completely avoidable, and with gardeners likely to make the most of better weather, we are urging caution.

“Past cases include a toad with its hind legs chopped off by a strimmer, a hedgehog burnt in pampas grass clearance, a blackbird speared by a garden fork 
and a toad stuck in a watering can.”

Quick checks for wild animals lurking in the grass or foliage could be all that is needed to save them losing a limb – or life.

“Warmer weather normally encourages some very enthusiastic gardeners to get out and sort out their back yards,” added the spokesman for the animal charity.

“But however impatient people feel – we urge a little bit of caution. Taking two minutes to check for wildlife before strimming, mowing or cutting could save an animal’s life. You never know what might be hiding away in the undergrowth.”

Ways to avoid such injuries include avoiding cutting hedges while birds are nesting, checking for birds or their nests if clearing scrub, brambles or trees has to be done now; keeping drains and swimming pools covered; and removing sports and garden netting and storing it in a safe place when not in use. It is also worth keeping some areas of the garden ‘wild’ and ‘untidy’ as many animals rely on leaf piles, compost heaps and even weeds for nesting and food.