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Just a pipe nightmare

In the garden, any kind of tube, tunnel, hole, or gap which has only one entrance can trap animals or birds, warns French wildlife protection charity ASPAS. 

Any upright hollow pole, for example, can trap birds, small reptiles and mammals which fall into them, either accidentally or when seeking shelter from the elements or from larger animals.

Check that uprights in your garden (fence posts, letterbox supports, etc) are sealed at the top.

It is also all too easy to overlook accidental traps at ground level. Piles of building materials can include tubes, and hollow bricks offering cavities which can be impossible to get out of, and there can be all kinds of cavities around the base of a house.

Items like plastic toys and traffic cones lying around the garden can also trap animals.

Any kind of open drain, pool or swimming pool can mean death for reptiles and small mammals. Either cover them, or add a stick to act as a ladder out of the water. Downpipes from gutters should be covered with wire to prevent both wildlife and leaves falling into them. Chimneys should also be protected with wire grills.

One of the biggest threats to wildlife however, are metal telegraph poles. Many are completely open at the top, and others are covered only by a plastic top which degrades and disintegrates in sunlight. These types of poles are bird graveyards. The most recent poles have factory installed metal covers, which protect wildlife completely. ASPAS has published a guide to recognising these telegraph poles from the ground, and is asking the public to check in their area.

If any Connexion reader spots an uncovered pole, they should note down its location and number (marked on a plate at the base of every pole) and inform ASPAS, who will take the appropriate action. Find out more here:

For more on Aspas, the national charity protecting wild animals, or to join and receive a free copy of its magazine, Goupil, visit:; call: 04 75 25 10 00 or write to: ASPAS, BP 505 – 26401 CREST CEDEX

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