Halloween merrymakers have been urged to not bin their leftover pumpkin carvings – but to feed them to wildlife instead.
RSPCA Cymru has issued the reminder as households across Wales get ready for All Hallows’ Eve.
Many animals can eat pumpkin – and the animal welfare charity is encouraging anyone who carved a pumpkin not to throw the remnants away; but to provide a tasty treat instead for their fellow living creatures.
An RSPCA Cymru spokesperson said: “Once Halloween is over, we’d urge people who have been celebrating to not waste their carved pumpkins by simply chucking them in the bin.
“Lots of animals – including wildlife – love to eat pumpkin; so we’re urging people not to waste them but to feed them to the wildlife in their gardens or perhaps even to their pets.
“Squirrels, foxes, badgers and birds all enjoy them, so people could leave chopped up pumpkin outside in dishes for wild animals to eat if they choose. Wildlife can struggle to find food this time of year so some chunks of tasty pumpkin could be very welcome.
“Pigs and chickens, too, also like the fruit – so anyone keeping these as pets could chop up their old Jack-o’-lantern for them. They make great enrichment for pigs and chickens – although it should only be given to them if it hasn’t been through a kitchen first, as it is illegal to feed waste food to livestock and farm animals.”
RSPCA Cymru have – however – advised that once the seasonal spooking is over, pumpkin carvers should double check the fruit is appropriate to feed to animals.
A spokesperson added: “Before feeding leftover pumpkin to any animals, however, it’s obviously important to remove tea light holders and any traces of candle wax.
“It is always worth checking the inside flesh of the pumpkin too – to ensure it isn’t mushy, mouldy, scorched or burned, as this may make it unsuitable for animals – although it would still make good compost!”
More information on the RSPCA’s work to protect wildlife is available online.