The Woodland Trust has shared an urgent warning to the public as Halloween is marked.
The Trust shared the plea to all ‘witches, wizards and spooks everywhere’ asking people to not endanger wildlife by dumping pumpkins in woodlands.
It comes as the conservation charity spotted a worrying trend in recent years, seeing Halloween pumpkins left in the nearest woods.
However, the charity believes it was mostly done under well-meaning but misguided attempts to help provide food for birds and woodland creatures.
But the charity has since shared how pumpkin dumping could actually be very harmful to woodland creatures.
As Paul Bunton, Engagement and Communication Officer at Woodland Trust shares: “Pumpkin flesh can be dangerous for hedgehogs, attracts colonies of rats and also has a really detrimental effect on woodland soils, plants and fungi.
“We can’t leave dumped pumpkins to rot so we end up with an orange mushy mess to deal with at many of our sites.”
The Trust is not the only one sharing their concerns as, Trevor Weeks from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service the harm pumpkins could do to hedgehogs, saying: “although not toxic to them the fleshy fibrous fruit can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea as they are not designed to eat large quantities of fruit.
“This can lead to them becoming bloated and dangerously dehydrated which in turn can be fatal. At this time of year, they can’t afford to become ill, or they may not survive the winter hibernation.”
The Trust also spotted that the pumpkin dumping issues seem to be starting earlier and earlier, with supermarkets flooded with cheap pumpkins for sale and pumpkin picking growing in popularity as a family activity in the run-up to Halloween.
As Paul added: “Thousands of tonnes of pumpkin gets thrown away in the UK after Halloween each year, so it would be great if we could all put that to better use.”
“Jack-o-lanterns can be good for wildlife in small quantities in gardens, but not woodland or other countryside.
“We are urging people everywhere to make soup, make a birdfeeder for your garden, but please don’t make a mess of the countryside!”
The Woodland Trust has shared some handy tips to on how you could instead use the spooky leftovers, you can see the list via the website.