tree hollows


Photo: Pete Richardson

Photo: Pete Richardson

BARBED WIRE!   Great War trench defence.

BARBED WIRE!  Keeping people apart

BARBED WIRE!   Snaring little Aussies

BARBED WIRE!  Hate it with a vengeance.

This little fluff ball is thought to be a Squirrel Glider  (Petaurus norfolcensis) that had an encounter with a barbed wire fence and managed to become entangled with one of the barbs twisted into its’ gliding membrane. This fence borders a bush block of around 40 ha that was badly burnt in the 2009 fires and is now dense with regrowth. You can see how stressed the creature looks and who knows how long it had been trapped until spotted by new KPCEG member Pete. After carefully untangling the glider and seeing that there was no apparent major damage, Pete wrapped it in a warm jumper and left it in a hollow at the bottom of a tree. When Pete returned later, the animal had gone and hopefully recovers fully from the ordeal.

The Squirrel Glider is listed as endangered in Victoria and its viability is particularly affected by loss of tree hollows and fragmentation of habitat. These negative influences make the animal more exposed to predation, particularly by foxes, dogs and cats and to inbreeding of populations. Healthy bush corridors of mixed species and layers allow a food source throughout the year. Plenty of tree hollows are needed as this Glider moves camp frequently over it’s foraging territory. It feeds on insects, pollen, nectar and saps. In our area, the Long leaf Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) that flowers in the cooler months is important to its survival over winter.

Like its smaller cousin the Sugar Glider, the Squirrel Glider lives in colonies  – an adult male, young and a couple of adult females. The gliding membrane allows a glide of up to 50m from tree to tree and can be manipulated to allow for steering in flight. The tail is prehensile, i.e., – can hold and grasp things such as branches or in this case; wire

An animal caught in barbed wire is not a rare event which is why Natural Resource Managers discourage its use.  To keep stock in, the alternatives are an electric wire and good management. When feed in a paddock is low, stock are going to test any fence as the grass is often greener on the other side. If your paddocks border bush, waterways or remnant vegetation, consider not using barbed wire especially on the top 2 wires  and use instead wildlife friendly styles of fencing such as described in this link –