European rabbit

European rabbits are Australia’s most widespread and destructive environmental and agricultural vertebrate pest.

First arriving in Australia with the First Fleet, then deliberately released for hunting in the 1800’s, the rate of spread of the rabbit in Australia was the fastest of any colonising mammal anywhere in the world. They are now found in all states and territories, including several offshore islands.

Rabbits graze on native and introduced vegetation, crops and pastures. Rabbit grazing can prevent seedlings from regenerating and reduce crop yields, as well as increase competition for feed with livestock. Rabbits damage native plants and directly compete with native wildlife for food and shelter. Their digging and browsing leads to a loss of vegetation cover, which in turn can result in slope instability and soil erosion.

There are at least 304 Australian threatened species that may be adversely affected by competition and land degradation by rabbits.

 

Boosting rabbit biocontrol: RHDV K5 national release    arrow-right


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Act

STEP 1

Identify rabbits and their impacts

STEP 2

Plan your strategy

STEP 3

Effective rabbit control

STEP 4

Monitor and evaluate

Best practice rabbit management is more than just controlling  rabbits. It requires a structured and consistent strategic plan of  action using the range of tools available to achieve long-term and  cost-effective outcomes.

Standard Operating Procedures – rabbit control

  • RAB010: Bait delivery of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) - Background Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include […]
  • GEN003: Trapping using soft net traps - Soft net traps consist of a flexible metal frame and netting and/or bag which collapses over the animal when triggered. Soft net traps rely on entanglement to secure and hold […]
  • RAB003: Aerial baiting of rabbits with 1080 - Poisoning with 1080 is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning with pindone, […]
  • RAB004: Ground baiting of rabbits with pindone - Poisoning with pindone is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning with 1080, […]
  • RAB005: Diffusion fumigation of rabbit warrens - Fumigation of rabbit warrens is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning, warren […]
  • RAB006: Rabbit Warren destruction by ripping - Warren destruction by ripping is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning, warren […]
  • RAB007: Rabbit warren destruction using explosives - Warren destruction with explosives is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning, warren […]
  • RAB008: Trapping of rabbits using padded-jaw traps - The introduced European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has a significant impact on agricultural production and the environment. Rabbit control methods include poisoning, warren fumigation, warren and harbourage destruction, biological control with […]
  • RAB009: Ground shooting of rabbits - The introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has a significant impact on agricultural production and the environment. Rabbit control methods include poisoning, rabbit fumigation, warren and harbourage destruction, biological control with […]
  • RAB001: Inoculation of rabbits with rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) - Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning, […]
  • RAB002: Ground baiting of rabbits with 1080 - Poisoning with 1080 is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning with pindone, […]
  • HAR001: Ground shooting of hares - The introduced European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is not regarded as a major pest of agriculture and the environment. However, in localised areas it can cause damage by eating crops, […]
  • GEN001: Methods of euthanasia - The word euthanasia means an easy death and should be regarded as an act of humane killing with the minimum of pain, fear and distress. Euthanasia of a range of […]
  • Model code of practice for the humane control of rabbits - The aim of this code of practice is to provide information and recommendations to vertebrate pest managers responsible for the control of rabbits. It includes advice on how to choose […]

Connect

MichaelReid_headshotMichael Reid is the National Rabbit Facilitator. Michael’s role is to support strategic research in community engagement and provide advice to facilitate more effective community-led action on rabbit management across Australia.
Michael is based in Wodonga, Vic and can be contacted at:
Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources
1 McKoy St  |  Wodonga, Victoria 3690
Phone:   02 60437975   |  Email: michael.reid@ecodev.vic.gov.au  |    twitter-2 @pestrabbit


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Last updated: July 26, 2016