As a developer of professional animal handling equipment, a question I am often asked is “Why not just use a fishing net to catch animals?”  Well, I’m the first to admit fishing nets are useful in animal rescue, but only in a handful of cases.

I’ll reach for an extra-large fishing net with about a 4 feet diameter when trying to catch an animal that is in a dangerous situation and about to fall.

The extra-large opening of the fishing net allows me a better chance of catching the animal.

In one case, I had to rescue a raccoon that was clinging to an overpass bridge on the highway.  He was dangling precariously and looked like he was about to fall.  The light weight of the fishing net made it easy for me to swing the net quickly over the side of the bridge.  Out of fear the raccoon jumped but landed right into the fishing net.  Mission accomplished.

Another time where I will choose to use a fishing net for capturing animals in water. I can bring the net up under an injured animal in water. The fishing net is easier to move underwater because it has much less netting material.

Overall fishing nets are best to use on an occasional basis and with care. The mesh on fishing nets is too large, making it too easy for the animal’s head, wings or arms get entangled by the mesh. The animal will feel stressed out.

An animal tangled up in the large mesh net also poses a problem for the animal rescue worker. The longer time spent handling the animal to remove it from the tangled mesh increases the risk of injury and stress for both the animal and the animal rescue worker.

And the problem with the mesh on fishing nets doesn’t end there.  The light nature of the mesh on fishing nets makes it easier for it to break and the animal possibly escaping.

Most of the time, my net of choice for rescuing and handling animals is the Hammock Net. It has small mesh – roughly the size of a pencil diameter.  The black mesh also provides a dark enclosure for the animal which helps to make him feel calmer and safer.  And the Hammock Net can carry animals weighing up to 45 pounds.

Fishing nets do have their place in animal rescue.  But in my experience I have found the use of fishing nets to be limited.