'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tawharanui Open Sanctuary - the Predator-proof Fence

Not perfect weather, in fact it sprinkled a bit, but as we came down the hill on the gravel ('metal') road, the view of the Tawharanui peninsula was very inviting. The special predator-proof fence runs across the middle of this image.

When we approached the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary itself, we entered through an automatic gate. Traps were placed just inside, to get any unwanted predator that might have slipped in with us.

There's an excellent display explaining all about the area and the fence.

Here is part of the 2.4 km long fence in the distance (and a small slip).

Although theoretically unwanted animals could enter Tawharanui around the end of the fence on the beach, in practise, a clever spiral shape prevents this. Stoats and rats 'hug' the fence, and get diverted into the centre of a spiral where traps are waiting for them.

And, as I said, traps are also set up inside the fence to get the ones that do find their way in.

The 'koru' spiral down towards the beach:

The rolled edge of the cap on top of the fence has been carefully designed to prevent climbers like possums from entering the sanctuary.

This was very interesting. In order to keep everything out, the size of the fence holes have to be very, very tiny, as this display shows. (Some of the words had worn off so I have printed them again). I was amazed how small a gap a rat can get through, although I suppose they are considering young ones.

TOSSI (the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society) members have been the driving force, along with ARC (the Auckland Regional Council) behind this marvelous project.

Note: As usual, all these images should zoomify if you click on them.


  1. I am astonished. The project itself is a considerable and very worthwhile undertaking - I have seen it and a much larger one in Australia up by Monkey Mia on the West Coast. But what really astonished me is how small the holes that some of the animals can get through: a mouse can get through a 6mm hole! That's small!

  2. Me too! Although, having watched one zip under my back door a couple of days ago, I've seen it in action!