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Urgent warning issued over pumpkin waste this Halloween

Callum Jones

Published 
| Last updated 

Urgent warning issued over pumpkin waste this Halloween

As Halloween is only a day away, many will be carving a pumpkin to put out for their spooky celebrations.

However, once the holiday is over, a lot of people will want to make sure that the pumpkin they carved doesn't just go to waste.

However, if you are unsure what to do with your leftover waste, the Woodland Trust has issued an urgent message about what not to do with it.

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The UK's largest conservation charity issued the warning after spotting in recent years that Halloween pumpkins are being left in woodlands after they have been used.

While it might be trying to be a nice gesture and provide food for animals, the Trust has actually warned pumpkin flesh can be very dangerous to some animals if they eat it.

The Trust said that it can be dangerous to hedgehogs, while also having a detrimental effect on woodland soils, plants and fungi.

Paul Bunton, Engagement and Communication Officer at Woodland Trust, said: "A myth seems to have built up that leaving pumpkins in woods helps wildlife. People think they’re doing a good thing by not binning them in landfill and instead leaving them for nature.

People are being warned not to dump their pumpkins in woodland areas after Halloween. Credit: B31 Voices/ Twitter
People are being warned not to dump their pumpkins in woodland areas after Halloween. Credit: B31 Voices/ Twitter

"But 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's comments were echoed by Trevor Weeks from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, who described hedgehogs as 'opportunistic eaters and they spend autumn and early winter building up their fat reserves for hibernation'.

He added: "As a result, hedgehogs can gorge themselves on easily available food like dumped pumpkins.

"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."

Pumpkin flesh is very dangerous to hedgehogs. Credit: Woodland Trust/ Twitter
Pumpkin flesh is very dangerous to hedgehogs. Credit: Woodland Trust/ Twitter

The pumpkin problem has become a worrying trend for the Trust, as they say that it gets earlier and earlier each year with supermarkets stocking pumpkins earlier than ever before.

They have advised that if you do put a pumpkin out in your garden this Halloween, to put it on a high surface so hedgehogs cannot get to it.

Or if you want to give back to the earth, then they also suggested burying it into the ground 'and let the worms enjoy it'.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/@B31Voices/Twitter

Topics: UK News, Halloween

Callum Jones
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