Last time we visited Austria for holidays we've recognized devices called "Weiderost" (literally translates into pasture grate). It's a coarse meshed grate laying in the street. It can be found where a fence is crossing a street. The grate kind of connects the two ends of the fence (the fence can't just pass it of course because driving and stuff). We know that it's called "Weiderost" because there were signs telling us so - "Caution! Weiderost!" - every time we came across one.


What is this used for?

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    – Pont
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 6:56
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    Just a fact, these are not so good for small animals like hedgehogs :(
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 10:54
  • @Aravona though hedgehogs can often go round under the fence, and at least in some cases if they fell through the bar could just walk out through the drain outlet. I.e. they should be put in properly
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 12:44
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    @ChrisH very true but most aren't put in so conscientiously :)
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:18
  • @Aravona Next time we'll make sure to check them for any poor hedgehogs :)
    – OddDeer
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


There are different kind of obstacles so that farm animals like cows on alpine pastures stay in the related territory. If you hike, you often pass little doors or Z-shaped wooden obstacles or have to lift gates.

For dirt roads this is similar, the cattle needs to be restricted so e.g. with a "Weiderost". In comparison to a gate you can always overcome the bars by car, but cattle and sheep aren't likely to overcome. So they are often build on roads for agricultural use or the kind, where they have to drive by regularly.

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    Aaah, makes sense, thank you! Are they kind of scared of these (like cats and cucumbers^^) or is it just that they would get stuck in it?
    – OddDeer
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 6:30
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    Cucumbers? :D Yes, they know they will most likely get stuck in the spaces so they won't try to pass by. I assume even dogs may be scared of these.
    – Wills
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 6:32
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    Yes, cucumbers: news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/… :D
    – OddDeer
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 6:34
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    @OddDeer - "This provides an effective barrier to animals without impeding wheeled vehicles, as the animals are reluctant to walk on the grates." (wiki)
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 14:40
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    @Wills, My dog just gingerly walks across the top. Hoofed animals on the other hand can't really avoid slipping off the top and in between the bars. There are some cattle guards though where they weld straps across where car tires go over, and then the animals can walk across the straps. Then there's the problem of dirt roads, old unmaintained gates are pretty much useless, because all the gaps fill in with dirt and gravel.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 19:23

In North America they're called cattle guards, or Texas gates, and they are everywhere (where I'm from at least). They're intended to replace a conventional gate by discouraging livestock from crossing, while also accommodating vehicles by not making them stop to open and close a gate door.

They are treacherous for cattle, who have to learn not to attempt to cross them. A cow or other large animal can easily get stuck or hurt in a cattle guard, and if left unaided, they can prove fatal:

Cattle Guard for cyclists to cross (Explicit content, mouse over to view):

enter image description here

Bull that attempted to jump a gate (Explicit content, mouse over to view):

enter image description here

Cattle guards are used to keep cattle out of fields as much as they are to prevent them from escaping. Aside from destroying the planted fields, cows can also die if they eat certain crops. Wheat for example is something that cows can't digest properly, if a cow gets out into a wheat field and fills up on grain, they'll bloat up and die a horrible painful death.

Interestingly enough, cattle guards are so common out here that some people can even get away with simply painting them on the roads:

enter image description here

Cows that are familiar with cattle guards are easily fooled by the faux gate. They won't even attempt crossing the painted lines. The painted gates are also used for speed control on paved roads. All the drivers out here are familiar with cattle guards and know to slow down to cross them (they can be pretty rough on your vehicle, like multiple speed bumps in a row).

I'll never forget the first time I encountered a painted gate, we rounded a corner going faster than we should have been going and hammered on the brakes in a panic when we saw it. We were confused for a moment after we rolled smoothly over the lines without the jarring rapid fire hits to our suspension, it's hard to tell a painted gate from a real one when you're going fast.

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    Just wanted to say that your lack of upvotes is most likely because of the graphic images. We get it, and no one really needs to see the end result. I'd +1 for the painted lines gate, but not going to elevate the other images.
    – JPhi
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 17:23
  • @JPhi I've censored the pictures a little bit. Should be better now (?). (awesome answer by the way Shem :) )
    – OddDeer
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 19:31
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    @JPhi, having grown up surrounded by wilderness and ranch land, seeing dead animals on occasion is just part of your day to day life. When I was a kid we used to go exploring in the woods to collect skulls and bones. I found a dead cow stuck in a fence while out for a hike just this year, cows are pretty dumb.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 19:38
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    My guess is that these are primarily employed by farmers/ranchers with hundreds or thousands of head of livestock; losing a few to "learning" the gate is probably deemed an acceptable loss compared to the potential losses of destroyed crops, a lost herd, or damage claims by neighboring landowners.
    – Doktor J
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 19:42
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    @Doktor Losing a cow to a cattle guard is rare, the occasional one might get stuck, but someone will be there to help it out. Cattle guards are only on roads that get enough traffic; where putting up a conventional gate isn't practical. There are losses to herds every year, my wife's Grandpa lost a calf one year because it's mother stepped on it, and there are always a couple that get taken by bears and wolves on the ranches in the bush.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 3:40

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