Netting | Minimise the risk of entanglement

Netting | Minimise the risk of entanglement

" Some of the most preventable injuries (and the most heartwrenching for rescue volunteers) are those resulting from wildlife entanglement in netting and discarded fishing line. The Red-bellied black snake being rescued in this video was one of the lucky ones, sadly many more are not...... flying-foxes, eagles, sea birds. All netting is not equal. There is a way to protect your fruit trees AND keep our wildlife safe. Read how Please also remember to take discarded fishing line with you and dispose of it and all other rubbish correctly. "

- Posted by WIRES March 8, 2016

Wildlife friendly netting

Fatal attraction
Native animals, increasingly displaced from their natural habitat by tree clearing and extreme weather, are resorting to flowering and fruiting trees in our gardens.

Tree netting is a popular way to protect fruit from wildlife, particularly in urban areas, but the wrong type of netting can be deadly. Hungry animals are easily caught in ‘bird netting’, which has a mesh size greater than 1cm square. Wildlife friendly netting should have a mesh size of less than 5 mm.

The rescue statistics show that most animals die with horrific injuries or require long term care before release.

Tragic tangles
Birds, bats, lizards, snakes and the occasional possum are the main victims of inappropriate netting. Animals become tangled in large mesh netting and cannot free themselves. While struggling to escape, the net cuts ever deeper into the animal.

Net disposal
Like ghostnets in the ocean, unwanted netting can continue to maim and kill. Ensure that discarded netting cannot become a hazard to wildlife.

Tree netting guide
2 ways to protect your backyard fruit and wildlife

1. Protecting individual fruit.
Search online for ‘fruit protection bags’, look for Green Harvest and The Native Shop for a range of bags and sleeves. Plastic garden pots can also be useful.

2. Protecting the whole tree.
We recommend a densely woven net that will not trap wildlife and doesn’t need a frame, such as the Fruit Saver nets, Hail Guard or Vege Net. These nets are all white - the colour best seen by animals at night. Go to our website for videos about these nets and other ideas.

The right netting
Our ‘finger test’ - choose netting that you cannot poke your finger through. The mesh size should be less than 5 mm.

For smaller trees up to 13m in circumference, we recommend Fruit Saver nets, available in 2 sizes.

For larger trees, buy Hail Guard off the roll from Fernland Agencies and Vege Net in 2 sizes from

3 good nets which pass the ‘finger test’

2 sizes for small and medium trees

Hail Guard
Off 6 m roll

Vege net
2 sizes, 6m x 10m and 6m x 20m

Fruit Saver Fruit Tree Nets
This fitted box-shaped net has a long skirt that gathers around the trunk of the tree.

The 2mm woven mesh excludes fruit fly and codling moth as well as birds, bats and possums. It has only a 15% shade factor and is currently best bought online at:

Helpful hints
  • Choose a smaller variety of fruit tree that is easy to protect, prune and harvest.
  • Use a supporting frame to protect the tree from the weight of the net, and prevent birds pecking fruit through the net.
  • Consider how you will access your fruit inside the net, Fruit Saver nets have an access flap for this.
  • The base of the net should be secured to the trunk of the tree or to the ground to prevent wildlife getting inside.
  • Remove nets promptly after fruiting to prevent damage to new growth.
  • Check your nets regularly. If an animal is caught visit to find a wildlife carer in your area.
Leading the way
Some hardware stores in Australia have taken the lead and stopped selling netting that is potentially harmful to wildlife. Ask your local supplier to stock only fruit tree netting that passes the ‘finger test’ - netting that you cannot poke your finger through.

For more information
Visit and look for the link to the netting page. Get up-to-date information including instructional videos showing how to net your trees in a wildlife friendly way.


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Netting | Minimise the risk of entanglement
Netting | Minimise the risk of entanglement
Netting | Minimise the risk of entanglement
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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