Barbed wire versus native animals

Each year hundreds of native animals become entangled in or “hung’ up on, barbed wire. The suffering endured by these animals is unimaginable. All species of native animals are vulnerable to this silent, lifeless predator. Flying Foxes, Sugar gliders, Squirrel Gliders, Greater Gliders, all of these are found entangled, usually through the flying membranes, the damage done is generally severe, some do not recover and others are in care for extended time. Birds such as Tawny Frogmouth's are often found on barb wire, in most cases they are caught by the wings, many breaking vital bones in a vain attempt to escape. Many Wallabies and possums, be it Ringtails or Mountain Brushtails, are also rescued from barb wire, generally caught by the legs, all suffer horrific injuries. When an animal is caught, it will struggle in fear and pain; sadly this only serves to further entrap and entangle it in the barbs, in many cases the animal is not discovered for some time. Barbs will tear open flying membranes, rip skin and muscles, break wings on birds and legs on wallabies, leaving horrific wounds, which often become fly blown, and all too often prove fatal.

What can you do to prevent this occurrence? If you already have barbed wire fences, the top strand of barbed wire could be replaced with ordinary wire, this would help stop gliders, bats and birds being caught. An alternate method to stop flying animals being caught is to use old garden hose slit down its length, then slid over the top strand of the barbed wire. Strips of cloth or any shiny material, tied at intervals along the middle strand of fencing wire, is another way to help prevent injury by alerting both flying and running animals that the wire is there. The best method of all is simply to get rid of the barbed wire completely. If erecting a new fence please consider the alternatives to barbed wire.

For the best alternative click the link below.





On our property we keep discovering old barbed wire, running along the ground and often embedded in trees, obviously from times gone by, when the wire was left when no longer needed. We have been removing this old wire for over 25 years now, and we are still finding more. I wonder just how much of it is out there in the bush, unbeknown to the current land owners.

If finding an animal on barbed wire, call your nearest wildlife care organization immediately, do not try to free the animal yourself. If possible provide shade whilst waiting for a rescuer to arrive.

Some history on the barbed wire fence from:”Inventors web site”.

Wire fences used before the invention of the barb consisted of only one strand of wire, which was constantly broken by the weight of cattle pressing against it. Michael Kelly made a significant improvement to wire fencing with an invention that "twisted two wires together to form a cable for barbs—the first of its kind in America," according to Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum, the authors of The Wire That Fenced the West. Known as the "thorny fence," Kelly's double-strand design made the fence stronger, and the painful barbs taught cattle to keep their distance.
Predictably, other inventors sought to improve upon Kelly's designs; among them was Joseph Glidden, a farmer from De Kalb, IL. In 1873 and 1874, patents were issued for various designs to strengthen Kelly's invention, but the recognized winner in this series of improvements was Glidden's simple wire barb locked onto a double-strand wire. Glidden's invention made barbed wire more effective not only because he described a method for locking the barbs in place, but also because he developed the machinery to mass-produce the wire. His invention also survived court challenges from other inventors. Glidden's patent, prevailing in both litigation and sales, was soon known as "the winner." Today, it remains the most familiar style of barbed wire. Glidden's patent, No. 157124, was issued November 24, 1874
Native Americans referred to this wire as "the Devil's rope."







17 January, 2010


©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.