There are a few important things to consider when you choose mesh for a wallaby fence:
- Essentials of wallaby fence mesh and wire design
- Advantages of choosing the best mesh design
- Making that mesh work well
- Consequences of using the wrong mesh
Good examples of effective mesh
Purchase mesh with enough steel to make it strong and rigid, so a moving wallaby or wombat will bounce off, and so a small wallaby can’t pass through gaps.
A footer/apron, or a high powered, well maintained hot wire 125mm off the ground, are the two main options for stopping animals pushing or digging under the wire. You can combine the footer/apron with a hotwire. If this is the case the hotwire can be lifted to 200mm. This reduces shorts and maintenance needs.
11-90-15 mesh with a footer/apron. 11 x 2.5mm line wires over 90cm vertical mesh is the minimum. On easy, even ground the post spacing can be increased if you are using rigid robust mesh such as 11-90-15 with footer/apron.
11-90-15 mesh with 2.5 mm wire and square knot. You can see impacts from wallabies caught inside the fence but there is no slippage of the knots.
In some circumstances Bennett’s wallaby can jump a 115cm high fence, like on a downhill slope. The majority can't jump a wallaby fence, as shown in this photo.
Large numbers of Bennett’s wallaby are shown in this photo not to be able to jump this 115 cm fence. The main species on King Island is Bennett's wallaby where a combination of fencing and shooting is reducing browsing significantly.
Footer/apron with hot wires both sides, 200mm from the ground and a very good energiser. With the wire at 200mm, and high voltage, spraying is less necessary and shorting is reduced. Incorporating the footer/apron allows the hot wires to be higher than the usual 125mm as wombats must spend more time finding a way through, and it is harder to avoid the hotwires.This fence is on FLinders Island with lots of wombats.
Example of a high power energiser dedicated to 5km of wallaby fence with hot wires on both sides. Faults need to be located quickly or wildlife create more damage and shorts. Technology in modern units help locate shorts quickly. Solar units may not have sufficient power in winter.
An image of 50cm clip-on footer in a 400m roll. Some people will use 30cm rabbit wire but this is cheaper and more robust.
Example of how to use the 50cm wide clip on footer/apron. Half the clip-on footer/apron is on the ground to seal the mesh to the ground and the other half is used to reinforce an old fence with innapropriate mesh.
Bad examples of problematic mesh
Mesh made of light wire of only 1.9mm spreads under impact. These knots don't hold with the smaller diameter wire.
A footer/apron is very effective for wallabies. But wombats can dig under a footer/apron if they find a weak spot. Often wombat holes are dug from inside the fence, like in this photo.
Hotwires close to the ground need constant maintenance like spraying. This is a lot of work and can create an erosion risk. Footer/aprons should not be sprayed as vegetation like grass holds the mesh down.
105cm rabbit netting with 15cm on ground as a footer. This method is both more expensive and less durable than wallaby mesh. It is also more difficult to construct, and may affect the movements of smaller mammals like bandicoots.
Barbed wire at the base of the fence doesn’t stop wallabies going under. A footer/apron is more effective.
8:80:15 size mesh, “Pig wire”, does not have enough steel/wire to be effective
Light wire with hinge-lock can easily collapse
Pademelon path through 8:80:15