Carton claimed to be risk to hedgehogs


It's a prickly subject, but hedgehogs are at risk of death by ice-cream container.

Of particular concern are the McFlurry ice-cream cartons produced by McDonalds. According to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the creatures have been found across Britain "dead or dying with their heads trapped in these containers".

And if it's happening in Britain, it's happening here, says Ms Nora Strunz, hedgehog expert with the Irish Wildlife Trust.

The McDonalds' McFlurry ice-cream is served in a large cup with a plastic lid. The lid has a large hole for the consumer to spoon the McFlurry through.

This hole is potentially fatal to hedgehogs, because while it is big enough for them to poke their heads through to slurp to remaining McFlurry, their spikes prevent them getting back out.

"So they wander around aimlessly with the carton stuck over their little faces until they either wander into traffic, are caught by predators or simply starve," says Ms Fay Bass of the BHPS. "In the past 18 months we've had countless calls from members of the public about these McFlurry cartons."

The society has approached McDonalds with a view to having the lid changed, but was told there were no plans to change.

Neither the ISPCA nor the Irish Wildlife Trust reports similar incidents here, but Ms Strunz believes this may be because there is not the same awareness about hedgehogs' welfare as in Britain.

McDonalds here has had no complaints about the lids.