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Having moved to suburbia from an apartment in the inner city, I have been surprised by the diversity of the wild life in Newlands. Birds and bugs of all kinds abound. A falcon recently flew within a metre of where I was sitting, chasing a small bird!

But suburbia also has it’s demands – like it’s electric fences. Two of my neighbours have them, and when they are shorted by something touching them, they cause a lot of RFI (radio frequency interference), especially on the HF frequencies.

Many things can get the electric fences shorting. When shorted they make a regular ticking noise on the radio and sometimes you can hear and see it outside as a bright spark and a loud crack every second or so. Very irritating and surprisingly loud at night.

These are radio transmissions. The owners of the fences don’t have licenses to transmit on these radio frequencies, so their transmissions are illegal!

As I don’t want to get into a legal fight with the neighbours, I take it upon myself to regularly ensure that nothing touches the fences, to reduce the shorting.

Electrified gecko, just the perfect length to short two wires of the electric fence.

The biggest cause of the fences shorting seems to be geckos, small lizards which eat insects and which I encourage around the house. On average I find two dead geckos a night, sometimes more.

That is a lot of geckos dying – it  seems like the great garden gecko massacre to me!

The geckos are usually severely burnt where they touch the wires, but I presume they die of the electric shock.

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