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Using electric fences to exclude badgers



Crop Protection - Volume 18, Issue 1 , January 1999, Pages 61-66


D. W. Poole, and I. G. McKillop from the Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York


The effectiveness of a new two-strand design of electric field strained-wire fence (Central Science Laboratory fence) for excluding badgers was assessed in a two year trial conducted in the south-west of England. Its effectiveness was compared with that of electrified netting currently recommended to manage badgers. The fences were erected to prevent badgers feeding at bait points to which they had previously had unrestricted access. Effectiveness was measured by comparing bait consumption before and after fence erection. Observations of badger behaviour at CSL fences were also conducted to determine how badgers reacted to the fence and to assess the humaneness of the design with regard to badger welfare. Humaneness was further assessed by comparing the night time activity periods of badgers before and after fence erection and by monitoring their daytime use of setts. Both the CSL and netting fences were 99% effective and reduced bait consumption almost completely. Only one badger was seen to cross the CSL fence although 18 were observed to touch its wires. The majority of badgers learnt to avoid the fence following the night of erection and were rarely seen near the fence on subsequent nights. The erection of the CSL fence had no effect upon the length of time badgers were active at night or where they slept during the day. These fences could now be recommended for use to exclude badgers from gardens, allotments or other similarly sized areas. However, further research is necessary before they could be recommended for use on a field scale which would exclude them from larger parts of their territories.


Electric fences; Meles meles; Badger; Behaviour; Management; Control

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