Stuck in the Wire

Animals Wildlife Rescue Posted Apr 20, 2021
Every year thousands of native animals including flying-foxes, face injury or death after being trapped or tangled in barbed wire fencing. Barbed wire is a considerable threat for our wildlife, especially when the wire is right next to their food source.

In a recent RSPCA animal rescue, a lady staying at a caravan park noticed a bat stuck in barbed wire and immediately called us. She covered the bat with a towel so it wouldn’t die in the sun on the fence.

bat stuck on wire with towel covering it

Bats will often injure themselves whilst trying to escape their trapped situation. The caller did the best thing for him by covering him with a towel, which spared him from the heat and prevented further injury. But it’s important to remember that you should never touch a bat! Appropriate protective equipment needs to be worn when handling living or deceased bats.

Animal Rescue Officer Chantelle arrived on the scene to try and free the bat from its predicament. She safely cut the wire on either side of the bat to free him and rushed him straight back to our Wildlife Hospital.

Due to the fragile nature of the trapped bat’s wings, unfortunately he had irreparable damage when veterinary checked which meant that for his welfare, he was sadly euthanised.

If you can avoid using barbed wire on your property and opt for single line fencing, this is a better option for our wildlife.

TIP: Unsure what fruit netting is best to protect your trees and our wildlife? Read more on wildlife friendly fruit tree netting here.  


There are approximately 35 microbat species in South East Queensland. Microbats are bats which can echolocate which means they use high frequency sounds to help them see obstacles and insects/prey. These tiny bats are hard to treat and manage because of their size, usually fitting into the palm of your hand.

microbat in hand

Here is one recent microbat that was brought into our care. Our Rescue Team collected him from a vet. Someone had dropped it off in a plastic container no information on where it came from. This makes future release back into the wild extremely difficult. It is important to remember to not touch a bat as they can carry Australian bat lyssavirus.

The microbats we treat at the RSPCA are usually 6-15g in size such as the Gould’s Wattled bat which fly really fast. The fastest mammal in the world is the Mexican free tailed bat which can fly at approximately 160km/hr!

If you’re ever unsure what to do when you find injured or trapped wildlife, our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Sophie Oxford
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