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: RHDV1 K5 national release    arrow-right


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  • European rabbits in Australia - Biology & ecology Wild European rabbits typically have grey-brown back fur and a white-grey belly. Colour varies from sandy light brown, to ginger, black, and occasionally, white. Rabbits are characterised […]
  • Rabbit biocontrol in Australia: key facts - Key facts about the history of rabbits and rabbit biocontrol in Australia
  • Rabbit legislation in Australia - Introduction Wild European rabbits are one of Australia’s most widely distributed and abundant pest animal species. They cause severe damage to the natural environment as well as to agricultural production […]
  • Benefits of Rabbit Biocontrol in Australia - EUROPEAN RABBITS (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a severe continental-scale threat to Australia’s globally important biodiversity and agriculture. The extreme sensitivity of many native plant species to rabbit damage – as few […]
  • How to report rabbit numbers, disease and dead rabbits - In preparation for the release of RHDV1 K5, landholders and the community are being asked to lend a hand in developing baseline information about rabbit populations before the release, and […]
  • Purchasing RHDV1 K5 to control wild rabbits - Background Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) has been used in Australia for more than 20 years to minimise the impacts of introduced European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on farming and the […]
  • Rabbit – humaneness matrix - Matrix showing the relative humaneness of rabbit control methods. The ‘humaneness’ of a pest animal control method refers to the overall welfare impact that the method has on an individual […]
  • Rollout of RHDV1 K5 in Australia: information guide - This booklet provides information on rabbit biocontrol in Australia and the RHD Boost project. It outlines how to get involved in the proposed release of RHDV1 K5 and where you can get further information.

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

  • RAB011: Bait delivery of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV1) K5 strain - Background Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is used in Australia to minimise the impacts of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other available rabbit control […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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, […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]

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Last updated: March 28, 2018