PUMPKINS can be fatal to hedgehogs, according to an East Yorkshire firm that builds highways for the prickly garden visitors.

Timloc Building Products, the Howden-based manufacturer of the Hedgehog Highway, is warning people to be aware that if they leave pumpkins out for squirrels post Halloween, that they can kill hedgehogs.

Animal charities say the orange pulp can upset hedgehogs’ tummies, and even lead to dehydration - a life-threatening situation.

Hedgehogs have recently been added to the UK red list as a species vulnerable to extinction.

Now, added to the list of hazards such as bonfires, traffic, larger animals, pesticides, netting and ponds, is the humble pumpkin.

Staff at Timloc have a vested interest in hedgehogs, having developed the Hedgehog Highway to help tackle the declining number of hedgehogs across the UK.

Kirsty Harrop, marketing manager at Timloc, said: “We have followed the plight of the humble hedgehog closely in recent years and we are keen to do all we can to help these creatures - before it’s too late.

“We are aware that many people will be leaving out pumpkins so other animals, such as birds and squirrels, can feed on it.While we don’t want to stop people from doing this, we do ask that they leave the pumpkins up high and out of the reach of hedgehogs.

“Hedgehogs are meat-eaters, and eating pumpkins can upset their stomachs.

“In turn, diarrhoea can cause dehydration, and in extreme cases, can be life-threatening.”

Timloc’s not-for-profit Hedgehog Highway has been designed to encourage both the public and developers to connect gardens, enabling hedgehogs to roam freely and forage for food and shelter without restriction.

The highway makes a hole aesthetically-pleasing and states the hole’s purpose to avoid accidental obstruction.New planning laws require a 13cm hole to be put in the base of fences in all new housing developments, creating a highway for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can travel up to two miles each night and modern housing developments greatly restrict the freedom that hedgehogs need to thrive.

The hedgehog population has seen a rapid decline to an estimated one million, compared to over 30 million in the 1950s

A spokeswoman for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society said: “We think pumpkins would upset hedgehogs’ tummies, so it’s better to offer pumpkins in trees for birds and squirrels.”

Timloc Building Products has partnered with Market Weighton Hedgehog Group, a non-profit organisation set up to help conserve declining hedgehog numbers by providing shelter and food for injured hedgehogs and educating the public on hedgehog conservation.

All sales proceeds from the Hedgehog Highways go to hedgehog rescue centres and support organisations.

Timloc Building Products will also supply hedgehog highways to various housing developments across the UK to encourage housebuilders to make a conscious effort towards hedgehog conservation.

To find out more, visit www.timloc.co.uk/sustainability