RSPCA warns that having this in your garden could be lethal to wildlife

Attention green fingered Brits!

The RSPCA has urged avid gardeners to remove netting from their plants and flowerbeds.

Animal welfare experts have warned that people protecting their shrubs with nets has lead to a surge in animal deaths, with increasing numbers of vulnerable creatures getting caught and tangled in the deathly garden traps.

While the netting is successful at keeping away critters like birds, insects, cats, rabbits and hedgehogs, it can also trap and tangle animals, often killing them.

A wild deer recently lost its life in Somerset when it became tangled in a net and suffered severe injuries, while a woodpecker got caught in a net and died in Devon.

READ MORE:The Best Places To See British Wildlife On Your Doorstep

Explaining the sad trend, RSPCA Inspector and animal rescuer, Marije Zwager, said, "Netting like this is potentially lethal to wild animals and birds. They can end up with life-threatening injuries by getting their legs, wings or beaks tangled in the netting or, if not spotted by anyone who can help free them, they can eventually starve to death."

Speaking to Devon Live, the wildlife protection advocate added, "Unfortunately, we get called to a lot of incidents where wildlife have got themselves caught in netting and as a result suffer fatal injuries from struggling to get themselves free like this poor woodpecker."

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Experts recommend opting for a densely woven net instead of thin ones that easily tangle, in order to cover plants.

You should also ensure that covers are tightly attached to the ground so that little animals can't climb underneath.

Alternatively, you can protect fruit growing on trees with individual fruit bags - soft, fabric bags that keep your product safe from the beaks of hungry birds.

Other RSPCA tips on how to make your outdoor space safe and suitable for wildlife include replacing cat and dog toxic pesticides like slug pellets with things like broken egg shells, coffee grounds or sand.

It's also recommended that you check in piles of leaves for animals like hedgehogs before disposing of them as well as checking for frogs and toads in greenery before mowing or strimming it.

Caitlin is Junior News Editor for woman&home, covering all things royal, celeb, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. 

Having set her sights on becoming a magazine journalist when she was a child, Caitlin took on work experience stints at local papers and titles such as Cosmopolitan, Now, Reveal and Take a Break while studying for her Multimedia Journalism degree and has interviews with celebs, reality stars and the Archbishop of Canterbury under her belt (of course, she couldn't resist asking him about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry). 

After leaving uni, she dabbled in fashion PR as a Press Assistant for Arcadia's Topshop before becoming a part of the Now team at Future for her first real job in the world of online journalism, joining the ranks as a Digital Writer in 2019. 

Caitlin went on to add the likes of Woman, GoodtoKnow, WhatToWatch and woman&home to her writing repertoire before moving on to her current role. 

When she's not working you'll find Caitlin sipping bubbles at brunch with her besties, thinking about her next iced coffee, trying to close the rings on her Apple Watch, scrubbing up on her royal family knowledge or scrolling through the Zara app, trying to resist tapping 'check out' again.