The RSPCA is calling for members of the public to tidy away loose netting, warning that it poses a danger to wildlife. In Bexley, a Grass Snake was found dead in crop protection netting during the ongoing survey of the Borough’s allotments sites for reptiles and amphibians, and reports were received from plotholders of Hedgehogs tangled in netting that were thankfully freed before suffering more serious harm. Both species are in decline. Birds can also get caught up in netting.
Chris Rose, the Biodiversity Officer for the Bexley Federation of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners said ‘ These distressing incidents can be avoided by keeping netting taught or, better still, by using wire mesh. By keeping the bottom of any mesh a couple of inches off the ground, smaller animals can go to and fro without getting trapped, whilst Pigeons will still be excluded. Flying insects are better excluded by horticultural fleece, which also provides useful shading, and probably presents less of a risk of entanglement to other species.’
The RSPCA receives around 2,000 reports of birds and other wildlife being trapped by netting each year.