Types of Pest Animals

Pest animals are generally considered as those that are unwanted or that cause some form of injury or damage. They can include both native and introduced species. Pest animals can have a negative effect on the health, safety and comfort of both humans and livestock (eg flies and mosquitoes), while they also prey directly on native animals and livestock for food (eg wild dogs & Plague Minnow ), or compete with them for food resources including native vegetation, crops and pasture (eg rabbits and deer). Pest animals can also cause significant physical damage to crops and other farm infrastructure including dams and fencing, contribute to waterway pollution (eg carp) and to soil compaction and erosion (eg rabbits and feral pigs).

There are a number of pest animal species that may occur on your property.  These include:

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  • Feral cats
  • European Red Foxes
  • Feral pigs
  • Feral deer
  • Wild horses
  • Carp (including Koi and European Carp)
  • European Rabbits
  • Wild dogs (including ding, half-breed dingo, wild domestic dog)
  • Feral goats
  • Hares
  • Plague Minnow - Mosquito Fish
  • Indian Myna birds

Some of these pest species were purposely introduced into Australia.  For example, rabbits and foxes were introduced for hunting.  Other pest species arrived accidentally, or escaped from farms or domestic environments into the wild.  Disturbance of environments, particularly land clearing, habitat fragmentation and provision of permanent water has aided the establishment and spread of many introduced species.  The absence of natural predators or diseases to control them has also meant that their populations have been able to grow rapidly, resulting in a variety of damaging impacts.

Pests and Your Rural Residential Property

There are a number of actions you can take to avoid animals becoming pests on your property.  These include:

  • Get your fencing right and maintain it to stop pest animals accessing your property, and to prevent your own pets and livestock from escaping to become a pest elsewhere
  • House livestock and pets (eg. chickens, guinea-pigs) in pest-proof coops and buildings overnight
  • Store livestock and pet foods (eg. grains and dog food) in a sealed, pest proof environment and do not leave leftovers lying around that will attract pest animals (eg. Indian Mynas)
  • Keep compost and waste areas well covered to avoid attracting pests
  • Eliminate possible breeding sites for mosquitoes by removing unwanted water holding containers, keeping fishponds and dams stocked with native fish, screening all open tanks or wells with gauze no coarser than 1mm, and flushing pot plants, water features and bird baths with a hose on a weekly basis.

Pest Management Obligations

Under the New South Wales Rural Lands Protection Act 1998, landholders have an obligation to eradicate pest animals on land they own, occupy or manage.  Current species declared as pests in New South Wales include; rabbits, feral pigs, wild dogs and a number of locust species.  Foxes and mice are presently classed as nuisance animals in NSW and there is no obligation for landholders to control these.  Many local councils and state government land management agencies however undertake fox control programs.

Pest Management Control Methods

There are a variety of control techniques for pest species, including; trapping, shooting, and poisoning (generally using 1080 baits).  The use of particular control techniques depend on the pest species, local conditions, and resources.  It is recommended that landholders refer to the specific species control references and the Humane Pest Animal Control: Codes of Practice and Standard Operating Procedures document referred to in this Chapter of the Guide before deciding on control techniques.  The correct techniques must be used to avoid harm to farm animals and wildlife.

Integrated Pest Management

It is important to note the relationship between different pest species such as rabbits, feral cats and foxes.  For example, in many areas, predation of rabbits by cats, foxes, and wild dogs actually help to suppress rabbit numbers.  Targeting just rabbits in a control program may therefore result in increased predation on native wildlife.  Getting the best outcomes from a pest control program therefore requires an integrated approach that may consider a number of pest and prey species.  Working with your neighbours to coordinate control programs will also increase the chances of success as pest species occur across property boundaries.  It is recommended that you contact your Local Council and co-operate with neighbours to ensure the most effective results.



Livestock Health and Pest Authorities
Local Council
NSW Department of Primary Industries
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
NSW Game Council


Copyright 2011 HCCREMS