The RSPCA is urging families not to waste their Halloween pumpkins by throwing them away – but to recycle and use them as animal food instead.

All sorts of animals can eat pumpkin so the RSPCA is encouraging anyone who carved a pumpkin not to throw the remnants away.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Halloween is over for another year and that means hundreds of thousands of carved pumpkins are at risk of being wasted and chucked in the bin.

“But lots of animals like to munch on pumpkins so we’d like to encourage families 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 like pumpkin 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,” a spokesperson added.

Pigs and chickens* also like pumpkin so anyone who keeps them as pets could chop up their Jack-o’-lantern for them.

Pigs naturally forage and root for food, eating a wide range of vegetables, while chickens enjoy vegetables to supplement their pellet and grain diet.

Pumpkin is also safe for horses to eat although must only be fed sparingly as any rapid changes to their diet can cause colic. It must be cut into slice and we’d urge people not to feed other people’s horses without permission. Other members of the gourd and squash family may be toxic to horses.

A spokesperson added: “Before you feed your leftover pumpkin to any animals, however, please make sure you remove tealight holders and any traces of candle wax first!

“And please check the inside flesh of the pumpkin. If it’s mushy and mouldy inside or scorched and burned then it may not be suitable for animals to eat. You could still recycle it as compost though!”