Science Questions

If you urinate on an electric fence will it shock you?

Sun, 2nd Aug 2009

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Brandon Zalinski asked:

If you urinate on an electric fence will it shock you?


Dave -   I canít say any reason why not and I grew up in a rural area,  and it was one thing I was told very, very definitely not to do, with such force.  I have a feeling various groups that were telling me had personal experience in this area.  An electric fence, basically, works by having a wire which is put up to a couple of thousand volts with a very, very limited current.  So the current will flow through you but the amount of current that can flow is not going to be dangerous.

Now an electric current will flow quite well through your body because your bodyís got water in it with some salt in there.  So the salt has got ions in it which means the electricity can flow through it quite nicely.  Urine is water with some salts in it so electricity is going to flow through it very nicely.  So yes, as far as I know, yes, you can certainly get shock in that manner, yes.

Chris -   Is that true where the guy pees on the underground and gets a bit of a shock.

Dave -   I donítÖ

Chris -   Would it be fatal?  Would there be enough current flowing in the urine stream, do you think, to get...?

Dave -   I donít know.  The underground is a much Ė itís about 600 volts, I think, which...

Chris -   DC?

Dave -   DC.  So I would have thought that this will be plenty there.  Again, it depends how well where the current can flow, if heís attached to earth quite nicely. If heís wearing rubber Wellington boots, probably less likely.

Angel UndergroundChris -   And will the electricity flow up the urine at the speed of light Ė i.e. the speed electricity?

Dave -   It should flow up the urine at about the speed of electricity, yes.

Chris -   So it would be an instantaneous shock?  I think thereís a Kitchen Science in this.

Chris -   And I think we should just send Dave out to try it.

Helen -   Well I think we should just take Daveís word for it but it does happen so donít go and pee in the underground.  Thank you very much.


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Brandon Zalinsky asked the Naked Scientists: Dear Dr. Chris, Will you get shocked if you urinate on an electric fence?† Thanks. † Brandon United States What do you think? Brandon Zalinsky , Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

Yup. lyner, Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

Ye indeedy as Sophie says! My brother decided between ten and twelve years of age that he would Whiz on the wire fence around an old horse pasture ' and much to his and all of our dismay was was promptly and abruptly zapped quite hard by the fence and let me say he never tried it a second time.. as a matter of fact he would not even come in the vicinity, a shocking education I must say!  LOL.. LOL...LOL 

Lets just say "electricity travels up stream!!!" Karen W., Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

You have to do it in such a manner that the stream of liquid breaks into droplets before it reaches the fence. syhprum, Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

You sound like someone with "experience"...! chris, Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

If it contains salts in it. it does !! ScientificBoysClub, Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

When I do it over a bridge, I find the water's very cold and very deep, too.
(The old ones are the best.) lyner, Mon, 3rd Aug 2009

Yes, a fella will get electrocuted when peeing on an electric fence. I screamed like a girl and danced round holding on for dear life to me wee-neir. Not at all fun. redonhead, Sun, 28th Feb 2010

PLEASE ! PLEASE ! Trust me . Peeing on an electric fence HURTS! No it wont kill you but the spasm that several THOUSAND volt flowing up your urine stream and thru your kidneys causes IS NOT PLEASANT ! I walked like John Wayne for days ....... Ross Sko, Wed, 14th Jan 2015

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