Pest animals

Rabbits

Feral rabbit pest species lying in red dirt web

Oryctolagus cuniculus

Rabbit is a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014. It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away, sold or released into the environment without a permit. Pet rabbits can be surrendered to the RSPCA which is permitted to re-home illegally kept rabbits interstate.

Rabbits cause severe environmental damage by feeding on native vegetation and preventing it from regenerating. They compete with native animals for food and space and degrade water through overgrazing. Rabbits also reduce the quantity and quality of pasture for grazing animals, and are a primary cause of soil erosion.

Rabbits can breed from 4 months of age with females capable of five to size litters in a good breeding season with an average of three to four kittens per litter.

Hares are sometimes confused with rabbits but are considerably larger, have longer ears with black tips, larger hind legs and tend to live alone except when breeding, unlike rabbits which live in groups.

An integrated approach to controlling rabbits is the most effective land management strategy. Methods include destroying rabbit warrens, rabbit proof fencing, trapping, baiting, shooting, fumigation, habitat modification and by the use of biological controls such as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (also known as rabbit calicivirus disease).

 

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