Barbed wire versus
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
Some history on the barbed wire fence
from:”Inventors web site”. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbarbed_wire.htm
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