Wildlife Friendly Fruit Tree Netting

Wildlife Article taken from The Biscuit magazine Animal Welfare Animals Magazine Possums Rescue Posted Dec 15, 2020
Every year thousands of native animals are injured in backyard fruit tree netting, but there are simple steps we can all take to keep our wildlife and our fruit safe.
Excerpt taken from Issue 11 of The Biscuit Magazine. Get your copy here. 

Animals commonly found entangled in netting include bats, birds, possums and even snakes. When an animal gets stuck, they frantically try to free themselves, which just causes them further injury. Some animals can be left like this for days and are at danger of dying from heat or dehydration, and are also at risk of being attacked by other animals, with no way to escape.
In a tangle

Just recently our RSPCA Animal Ambulance was called to a home in Nundah to help rescue a possum that had gotten tangled in some fruit tree netting. 

possum rescued rspca queensland fruit tree netting

This poor little possum had fallen off Mum’s back and got tangled up. Rescuer Jamy-Lee managed to free the adorable creature and take her in for a vet check at the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital in Wacol.

rspca animal ambulance rescued stuck possum in fruit tree netting

If you spot wildlife tangled up in netting, contact our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

How to make netting wildlife-safe

There are many different types of netting available on the market. Something to consider is whether you need to protect the whole tree or just the individual fruit.

Netting systems that pose the most risk to wildlife are products that don’t pass “the finger test”, meaning the mesh has holes bigger than one centimetre. Ideally, the safest mesh to use has holes of 5mm or less. Netting that is loose or tattered and isn’t properly enclosed at the bottom of the tree, also may cause animals to become caught inside.

When installing netting, ensure the system is secured properly to the trunk of the tree or the ground, to prevent animals getting inside. Alternatively, attach the netting to a supporting frame to place over the tree. Fruit bags are also great for protecting individual fruit and are easier to manage too.

how to install fruit tree netting

Look for Fruitsaver, Hailguard and Vegenet brands with the smaller netting holes. 

It is important to remember to check your netting daily for wildlife and to contact the RSPCA if you find an injured animal. 

bat rescued fruit tree netting

The holes in this netting above are too large and birds, bats, snakes and other animals can get caught easily.

It is very important to store or dispose of netting properly, so that it doesn’t become a further hazard to wildlife and doesn’t end up in the environment as litter!

zoe von muralt

Zoe von Muralt
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