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This question is a bit similar with how high does a fence need to be to prevent European brown bear to climb it? question but not exactly (that one specifies a fence, and needs to provide vision and is able to dig around).

I want to build a wall around my property in order to keep the bears away (Romania country, European brown bears). I want to be able to camp / cook / do anything I want inside. I am considering a smooth concrete wall (so it can't be climbed). How tall does it need to be?

Would a vertical bars metal wall be more effective (if yes... how tall should that one be)? Also how far down should I dig?

I am considering a 2.1 m concrete wall, with 40 cm foundation. Is it too small?

In order to not receive off-topic answers / comments (I know questions like this tend to go that way, as you can see in linked post):

  1. No, I cannot consider hiding food / adding ammonia etc. Can't hide a tree full of fruits.
  2. No, I cannot consider electric fencing. Having kids playing around a 10k volt fence doesn't feel like a good idea to me.
  3. No, I cannot add a rooftop. I like the sun... so do my trees :)... and my kids... and can't enclose a 2000 sq m area easily (it is possible but... nope).
  4. Yes, there are reasons to worry about this (and I am glad to provide them in private but that's not the topic). Otherwise I wouldn't ask or be ready to invest thousands of $ in this.

Any other ideas that are on topic (preventing a bear to get inside) are welcomed. Resources are surprisingly scarce on this topic and zoos only have specifications for fences (since the audience need to see the animals) and that doesn't really apply to my situation (I don't need to see them... at least not in my garden).

Thank you for your help, I appreciate it.

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    Your property will look like a prison afterwards... Have you considered placing your fruit plantation remote from your house, so that they stop luring the bears? Or shepherd dogs? Your question could be a better match on Sustainable Living, because it's more oriented on self-sustainers. This site is more for people, who are recreationally outdoors, and goals at rejoining with nature, not building walls. Sep 19, 2021 at 19:06
  • @DanubianSailor this popped up again in the question feed for some reason. A ha-ha construction would prevent it looking or feeling like a prison. This is basically a boundary ditch with a vertical wall on the inner (protected) side and a gentle grassed slop on the outside. That might also be on topic at gardening (and landscaping).se
    – Chris H
    Dec 1, 2021 at 14:43
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    ... A ha-hah with a fairly low wall (but higher than a child's reach and an electric fence wire just below the top would work nicely. The wall could extend above the inner ground level to stop the kids falling off or touching the wire - to the height of a standard low wall.
    – Chris H
    Dec 1, 2021 at 14:45
  • @ChrisH He mentions kids--a ha-ha wouldn't be safe. However, a partial ha-ha strikes me as a lot better than an outright wall. Make the part that sticks up high enough to keep small kids from going over, make the rest of the distance dug in. Dec 7, 2021 at 5:03
  • @LorenPechtel hence the low wall at the top in my 2nd comment. Between us there's nearly an answer, but lacking the crucial figure for the height.
    – Chris H
    Dec 7, 2021 at 10:13

3 Answers 3

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The bear pit in Bern, Switzerland (Pinterest photo below) contains European brown bears and has concrete or smooth stone walls. Measuring the photo, the wall is about two times the height of the woman. If the woman is average height, the wall is about 3.3 meters to the capstone.

enter image description here

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    I answered your question, but I would like to add that an electric fence is by far the most sensible solution to your bear problem. Electric fences do not harm people, including children, and they do not harm animals. They deliver a very brief shock, similar to the spark from touching a door knob after walking across a carpet, but stronger. We are not talking about deadly electric fences around a prison or a military base that make smoke come out of your ears. Children are perfectly safe around electric fences, and they are used in my area to keep deer and bear out of orchards.
    – MTA
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:52
  • Awesome. Never thought checking bear pits (probably because I never seen one in my life). Tyvm.
    – zozo
    Sep 19, 2021 at 22:23
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    @MTA also the electric wire could be used as an anti-climb device, out of the reach of children, on a metal fence - or simply on the outside
    – Chris H
    Sep 20, 2021 at 8:27
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This already got an accepted answer, and I can see that OP has decided to build a metal bar fence around their property.

But for future reference I'd like to state that an electric fence is clearly the most sensible and by far cheapest option.

Electric fencing is used very efficiently against bears.

  • For example by this wildlife photographer who regularly spends months among the grizzlies on Kodiak. I have attended some of his public lectures, and he talked at length about the portable electric fence he is using.
  • Or here, promoted by this official US government page from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including instructional videos on how to choose and install electric fences as bear deterrents.

From a price-point an electric fence will easily be an order of magnitude cheaper than any kind of fence or wall. And probably more than an order of magnitude faster to install.

As for the fear that it could hurt kids: electric fences used to keep animals in or out are not dangerous to humans. They might zap you a little if you carelessly touch them, but the voltage is harmless. I have spent my childhood around fenced in mountain pastures and was shocked plenty of times... We even used to do it as a dare.

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I was thinking about a metal fence of bars, of 80x40x3 mm (cross-section), around 3 meters high and at least 1 meter in the ground (enclosed in a concrete/stonewall foundation), and about 20 cm apart (approximately 4 pieces per meter "D D D D "). For a 200 meter fence (2500 sq meters) it's about 25-30 thousand euros at current prices (lots of "free" stone boulders in the mountains). It is supposed to be like the US-Mexico border walls, allowing cats to go in/out, but preventing wolves to go in-between.

PS. It's a very serious, man-made, issue with bears in Romania.

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  • Hi aprilius and welcome to the community. As a note... this should be a a comment (but personally I don't mind). Because of the price I also opted for metal bars. I made a 2.8m vertical bars fence, with ~1.5m concrete foundation (1.2m in the ground, 30 cm above). I am 100% sure that if a bear would really want to get in, it would. However... so far I had 0 inside (at least to my knowledge). My neighbors had at least 1. I do think is a deterrent. Why jump 2.8m+ when you can jump 1.7 to the neighbors yard. Is far from perfect but... life is life (cost me ~13k$; my original project was way more).
    – zozo
    Dec 7, 2023 at 20:31
  • I think it crosses the threshhold of an Answer. A design is summarized, so it goes beyond a comment.
    – ab2
    Dec 7, 2023 at 21:24
  • I edited out the bit that was mostly making it a comment, leaving the answer.
    – Willeke
    Dec 8, 2023 at 9:17
  • While a metal bar fence is feasible it's going to cost a lot and make your property look like a prison yard. Depending on jurisdictions you will need a building permit as well. IMHO an electric fence is a far superior option.
    – fgysin
    Dec 8, 2023 at 9:33
  • Thank you for the update
    – aprilius
    Dec 18, 2023 at 20:07

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