What Animals Climb Fences? UK Fencing Guide

4th June 24

Fences are meant to keep things out, but wildlife in the UK often finds a way around them. Understanding why animals climb fences is crucial for both property protection and wildlife management.

Private garden space in Britain covers about 728,900 hectares (1,801,151 acres) so their potential as a haven for wildlife is considerable. Many already provide food, shelter and breeding sites for a wide range of animals which increases the interest of a garden.

This guide explores animal behaviour, fence designs, and practical solutions to keep unwanted visitors at bay while respecting the natural world around us.

Why Animals Climb Fences

Wild animals possess an innate ability to adapt and survive, leveraging their natural instincts in their quest for sustenance and shelter. These instincts, honed over millennia, drive creatures to explore their surroundings and overcome obstacles, including fences. Among the primary motivations behind animals scaling fences are the pursuit of food, shelter, and mates.

Fenced areas can inadvertently provide shelter or nesting opportunities for animals seeking refuge from predators or harsh weather conditions. Moreover, during mating seasons, the drive to expand territories and find potential partners may lead animals to venture into fenced areas.

It’s worth noting that common fencing problems such as gaps, loose panels, or overgrown vegetation can further facilitate animals’ entry into enclosed spaces. By addressing these issues and understanding the underlying motivations of wildlife, estate owners and agricultural land owners can proactively mitigate the risk of unwanted animal encounters.

Common Animals in the UK That Climb Fences

The UK has an abundance of specific wildlife challenges, and whilst we may enjoy admiring our wild neighbours from afar, that doesn’t mean we want them on our property. Here are some of the most common animals that are known to climb fences and gain access to our land:

Foxes

Renowned for their adaptability and cunning, foxes are adept climbers capable of scaling various types of tall fences. Equipped with sharp claws and an innate curiosity, these clever climbers often explore fenced areas in search of food or out of sheer inquisitiveness. Foxes can jump as high as six feet so to prevent foxes from accessing your property, consider installing fox fencing solutions designed to deter climbing attempts effectively.

Cats (Domestic and Feral)

Domestic cats, known for their agility and climbing prowess, often roam freely within residential areas, effortlessly navigating fences and walls as easily as they climb trees. Similarly, feral cats, though more elusive, exhibit similar behaviours, utilising fences as vantage points or pathways. Understanding the behavioural differences between domestic and feral cats is crucial in implementing effective deterrents and ensuring the safety of both wildlife and pets.

Badgers

With their distinctive black and white markings, badgers are a common sight across the UK countryside. While primarily ground-dwellers, badgers are capable climbers and occasionally resort to fence climbing, especially when seeking access to food sources or exploring new territories. Knowing how to install badger-proof fencing, incorporating features such as sturdy construction and underground barriers, can deter these resilient creatures effectively.

Deer

Majestic and graceful, deer are renowned for their leaping abilities, allowing them to traverse obstacles with ease. In rural and suburban areas, deer may encounter fences erected for agricultural or property delineation purposes. Understanding the behaviour and habitat preferences of different deer species, such as roe deer or fallow deer, is essential in devising strategies for effective deer fencing.

Read more: How To Install Deer Fencing

Hedgehogs

While not adept climbers like their fox or cat counterparts, hedgehogs are nonetheless agile creatures capable of navigating various terrains. Although their primary mode of movement is terrestrial, hedgehogs may encounter fences during their nocturnal foraging activities. Ensuring fences are hedgehog-friendly, with gaps or passages allowing safe passage, contributes to wildlife conservation efforts.

Types of Fences and Their Effectiveness

Wooden Fences

Wooden fences are a staple of residential properties, offering privacy and aesthetic appeal. However, their susceptibility to weathering and damage can compromise their effectiveness as barriers against climbing animals. Regular maintenance, including repairing damaged panels and reinforcing weak points, is essential in ensuring the longevity of wooden fences.

Chain-Link Fences

Known for their durability and versatility, chain-link fences are commonly used in various settings, from residential properties to commercial premises. While effective as boundary markers, their open mesh design may provide footholds for determined climbers such as foxes or cats. Adding deterrents such as angled extensions or roller bars can enhance their effectiveness against climbing wildlife.

Metal Mesh Fences

Characterised by their strength and rigidity, metal mesh or wire mesh fences offer robust protection against intruders. Their solid construction and smooth surfaces make them less susceptible to climbing attempts by animals. However, proper installation and maintenance are essential to prevent gaps or weaknesses that may compromise their effectiveness.

Electric Wire Fences

Employed in agricultural and livestock management contexts, electric fences serve as formidable deterrents against wildlife intrusion. By delivering a non-lethal yet deterrent electric shock upon contact, these fences effectively deter animals from attempting to climb or breach the barrier. Adherence to safety regulations and regular inspections are imperative to ensure the safe and effective operation of electric fences.

Read more: Electric Vs Non Electric Animal Fence: Which is Best?

Innovative Solutions and Best Practices

When it comes to keeping wildlife at bay, traditional fencing methods may not always suffice. In this section, we explore innovative solutions and best practices designed to outsmart even the most determined climbers and burrowers.

Fence Toppers and Extensions

Fence toppers, including spikes, rollers and angle brackets, serve as physical barriers to deter animals from climbing or perching on fences. By creating an uncomfortable or unstable surface, these deterrents discourage animals from attempting to breach the barrier. Their effectiveness varies depending on factors such as the size and agility of the target species.

Motion-Activated Deterrents

Leveraging modern technology, motion-activated deterrents offer non-invasive solutions to wildlife management challenges. Products such as sprinklers, lights, or sound emitters detect the presence of animals and activate deterrent mechanisms, discouraging them from approaching or climbing fences. Integrating these deterrents with existing fencing solutions enhances their effectiveness in deterring wildlife.

Dig-Proof Barriers

In addition to addressing climbing behaviours, preventing animals from burrowing beneath fences is essential in wildlife management. Ground skirts and physical barriers installed along the base of fences create an additional layer of protection, thwarting attempts by animals to dig their way underneath. By fortifying fence foundations, homeowners can effectively mitigate the risk of wildlife intrusion.

Legal Considerations and Wildlife Protection

Navigating local regulations and wildlife protection acts is essential when implementing fencing solutions. By ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations, homeowners can safeguard both their property and local wildlife populations. Ethical considerations, such as minimising habitat fragmentation and preserving biodiversity, should also inform fencing design and installation practices.

Maintenance and Upkeep of Fences

Regular inspections and proactive maintenance are key to preserving the integrity and effectiveness of fences. By identifying and addressing weak points or damage promptly, homeowners can prevent potential breaches and minimise the risk of wildlife intrusion. Seasonal considerations, such as weather conditions and wildlife activity patterns, should also inform maintenance schedules to optimise fence performance.

Looking For Expert Animal Fencing Solutions?

Understanding why animals climb fences and implementing effective solutions is vital for property protection and wildlife preservation. By taking practical steps to deter wildlife intrusion, we can coexist harmoniously with nature while safeguarding our homes and surroundings.

In the UK, County Fencing is a prominent supplier of specialised fencing, fencing equipment, and fencing installation services. We will be pleased to offer advice on any fencing needs you may have, with an emphasis on specialised applications and the best fencing equipment available.

We can advise on the application of badger fencing, deer fencing, fox fencing and more.

For bespoke fencing solutions tailored to your needs and backed by expert advice, contact our professional fencing services today

What Animals Climb Fences FAQs

How tall should a fence be to keep animals out?

The optimal height of a fence to deter animals varies depending on the species you aim to keep out. Generally, a fence should be at least 6 feet tall to deter medium-sized animals like deer. For smaller animals like rabbits or foxes, a fence height of 3 to 4 feet may suffice, but adding deterrents like wire mesh or electric wires can enhance effectiveness

Can foxes climb 6ft fences?

Yes, foxes are agile climbers and can scale 6-foot fences with relative ease, especially if motivated by food or shelter. To prevent foxes from accessing your property, consider installing additional deterrents such as fence toppers, wire mesh, or motion-activated devices to discourage climbing attempts.

How do I keep animals from climbing my fence?

There are several effective methods to deter animals from climbing fences. Installing fence toppers such as spikes or rollers can create an uncomfortable barrier for climbers. Adding wire mesh or electric wires along the top of the fence can also deter animals. Additionally, trimming nearby trees and vegetation can remove potential launch points for climbing. Regular maintenance and inspection of fences are essential to ensure they remain effective deterrents against climbing wildlife.