Barbed wire & wildlife don't mix

First published 12th August 2016  (Updated 18th September 2017)

The importance of Wildlife Friendly Fencing

Over the years we have documented numerous sad sightings of wildlife tangled and impailed on barbed wire fencing locally.  Often the outcome for these animals, is not good with a long painful death, suffering on the fence, and if rescued, often their injuries are too severe to survive.
Wildlife that become entangled on barbed wire, often also have injuries to their mouths, as they try to bite their way off the wire, causing dreadful damage from the barbs inside their mouths.  They also panic and try to free themselves, often wrapping their body around the wire more and causing more damage as they try to escape.

Educating property owners about wildlife friendly fencing is imperative.  Livestock and wildlife can both co- exist safely.  Please see our recommendations below. Should you find an animal stuck on barbed wire, please call your local wildlife carer or phone the RSPCA Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 1300ANIMAL to be put in touch with a local carer for assistance. Do not attempt to free flying foxes or bats - only vaccinated trained experts are permitted to do this.

All photos below have been taken within the Toowoomba region.

Wildlife Friendly Fencing, is fencing that is safe and effective for wildlife, people and livestock.

•It does not entangle or harm wildlife.

•Allows the appropriate free movement of wildlife across rural and urban landscapes.

•Plain Wire Top and bottom is recommended for agricultural fencing to ensure wildlife can pass safely

•More information at:

J & B Gray

Young female Squirrel Glider alive but suffering on a barbed wire fence after being stuck while gliding from a nearby tree.  The wire barbs had pierced the gliding membrane the tail and the pouch of the glider- she suffered extensive injuries from trying to free herself.  Unfortunately after being rescued, the glider had to be put to sleep as it's injuries were too severe to survive.  Location Kingsthorpe, Qld. 

Little Red Flying Fox trapped by it's wings on a barbed wire fence at a "Land for Wildlife Property" at Cabarlah.  The flying fox had suffered broken bones in the panic of trying to free it'self from the barbs and once removed had to be put to sleep because it's injuries were too severe.  The property owner mentioned that they had been meaning to take down the top row of barbed wire as they had no need for it on the property - I think this would have been enough motivation to do so.

We discovered this Little Red Flying Fox that was alive and tangled on a farm barbed wire fence at Headington Hill.  The flying fox was kindly taken in by Darling Downs Zoo who organized emergency assessment and treatment.

Native Brown Quail that had died after becoming tangled on a barbed wire fence at Meringandan
One of my saddest discoveries - the remains of a tiny feathertail glider on a barbed wire fence, within a kilometer of our family home.  I was gutted that I hadn't seen it sooner.  This was the closest I had been to seeing a Feathertail Glider in the wild at the time, and it was devastating.

The feathertail glider remains from the barbed wire fence - Kleinton. 
Feathertail Glider remains on barbed wire fence at Kleinton.

A poor Little Red Flying Fox, that I didn't see until around 5pm one afternoon earlier this year.  The poor thing had been stuck on this council barbed wire fence overnight and all day.  I rang a local bat rescue lady that I know and fortunately she was able to come and remove the flying fox from the wire.  Experts who are vacinated to manage bats and flying foxes are the only ones who are allowed to handle these species.

The damage to the Little Red Flying Foxes wing is shown here.  The flying fox was taken into care, but it was thought it would be unlikely that it would be viable to survive in the wild, with such a large chunk of it's membrane missing in vital locations.

Wildlife Friendly fencing for livestock.  This photo is taken of a fence on one side of our property Jarowair, that adjoins a neighbour that has cattle grazing on their land.  As you can see, the bottom and top wires are plain wire, allowing for wildlife to easy make their way under, or glide over the top without becoming entangled, but the two barbed wire centre wires serve the purpose to ensure the neighbours cattle stay within their paddock.

Sugar Glider that had perished on a barbed wire fence at Kleinton in 2013.


  1. Thanks for posting this information. Very Interesting.

  2. That sad to see these lovely critters dying on the barbed wire.


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