Barbed wire is a considerable threat to flying-foxes and many other native species such as gliders and owls. Each year thousands of native animals face a brutal death after being entrapped on barbed wire. BCRQ receives hundreds of rescue calls each year for bats that have become entrapped.
Many bats fail to see the barbed wire, or have difficulty avoiding during windy conditions. Once caught, most bats will desperately try to escape which causes them to become more entangled. Most of the bats end up with significant injuries such as damage to the wing membrane, broken bones and/or horrific mouth injuries as some trapped victims try to release themselves by chewing the wire or their own wings.
Sadly, of the bats that BCRQ rescues off barbed wire fences there is a large percentage that have to be put to sleep due to their extensive injuries. Please call BCRQ if you find a bat on barbed wire. If it’s possible to do without touching the bat, throw a towel over the bat, which will calm it.
How you can help reduce the impact of barbed wire victims
You can help flying-foxes and other species by implementing the following to make your fences wildlife friendly.
- Avoid barbed wire wherever possible, especially on the top strand of the fence.
- Use plain wire for the top strand or cover the top strand with split polypipe.
- In areas where wildlife keeps getting caught look into alternatives, or implement one of the above options. Hotspot areas may include near feeding trees, roosts or water sources.
- Remove or avoid planting any flowing or fruiting trees or shrubs near barbed wire as they will attract hungry flying-foxes.
- Make the fence more visible for nocturnal animals by using flagging tape.
- Check all fences in the morning for trapped animals and call them immediately into a rescue group. The longer the bat is on the wire the more serious the injuries and the state of the bat becomes.
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