Choosing a Fence with Wildlife in Mind

Fencing is a necessary aspect of property management, whether for privacy, security, or demarcation, but it often comes at a significant cost to local fauna.

The importance of wildlife-friendly fencing cannot be overstated. As human developments expand, the natural habitats of countless species are disrupted, leading to decreased biodiversity and the endangerment of numerous animals. By designing and installing fences with wildlife in mind, we can mitigate these negative impacts, supporting ecological balance and fostering coexistence with nature.

Understanding the Impact of Fencing on Wildlife

While fences serve a purpose for humans, their impact on wildlife can be significant. Here’s a closer look at the challenges fences pose for animals.

  • Habitat Habitat Havoc: Traditional fences often carve up natural landscapes, leaving behind isolated patches of land. These fragmented habitats struggle to support the diverse needs of wildlife. Animals accustomed to roaming large, connected areas for food, breeding, and shelter find themselves confined to smaller, less viable spaces. This fragmentation can lead to a decline in biodiversity as species struggle to survive in cramped quarters.
  • Blocked Migrations: Many wildlife species, from majestic elk and deer to smaller creatures like turtles and frogs, rely on seasonal migrations to access essential resources. Unfortunately, traditional fences can act as insurmountable walls, preventing them from reaching vital food sources, breeding grounds, or seasonal habitats. Disrupted migration patterns can have a ripple effect, leading to decreased population growth, especially for species already facing environmental challenges.
  • Injury and Death: Conventional fences, particularly those with barbed wire or sharp edges, pose a serious threat to wildlife. Animals attempting to navigate through or over them can become entangled, leading to severe injuries or even death. Birds, for instance, may fail to see wire fences and collide with them at high speeds, resulting in fatal crashes. Deer and other large mammals can impale themselves on sharp fence posts or wires, causing gruesome wounds.

However, not every fence is a problem fence. There are situations where a fence is designed to keep wildlife safe or to minimize the ecological impact. 

What Makes Fencing Wildlife Friendly? 

Here are points to consider before purchasing and installing a fence. 

Design Considerations

Creating wildlife-friendly fencing involves thoughtful design to ensure that animals can safely navigate around or through the barriers. Key design elements include:

  • Height and Spacing: Fences should be high enough to keep livestock or pets in but low enough to allow wildlife to jump over. For example, a height of 40-42 inches is generally considered safe for most wildlife to cross. Additionally, spacing between fence components should be wide enough to let smaller animals pass through but narrow enough to prevent pets or livestock from escaping.
  • Visibility: Adding visibility markers, such as flags or reflective tape, helps wildlife see and avoid fences, reducing the risk of collisions.

Material Selection

Choosing the right materials is crucial for creating a fence that is both effective and safe for wildlife. Consider using:

  • Vinyl Fencing: Vinyl is easy to see and attractive. Split rail fencing allows home and business owners to clearly mark their property lines while allowing wildlife to come and go without injury. 

By integrating these principles and materials, fences can fulfill their intended purposes without posing significant threats to wildlife.

When Can A Fence Protect Wildlife? 

A strong privacy fence can deter wildlife from accessing areas where they could be hurt in a vehicle collision or poisoned. For example, creating an enclosed space around dumpsters or toxic waste stations. 

How To Choose The Right Fence 

Ultimately, the best fence for your property will be determined by your specific needs, the location, topography, and local wildlife. If you have determined that a vinyl fence would meet your needs, contact the team at Plastic Lumber Yard today for a custom quote.