European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)Status: Classified as vermin in Tasmania under the Vermin Control Act 2000.
Risk Assessment: Risk Assessment for Australia - European Rabbit
Identifying Features | History | Distribution | Environmental Impacts | Reproduction | Control Techniques | Further Information
View recorded distribution information in Natural Values Atlas
View recorded distribution information in PestSmart
Competition with native animal species and land degradation by feral rabbits are listed as a key threatening process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The close proximity of bushland (harbour for rabbits) to many cities and towns throughout Tasmania means rabbits are often a problem in backyards, gardens and reserves.
Rabbit numbers fluctuate according to seasonal conditions, with breeding success related to the availability of feed. Green feed promotes breeding and consequently an increase in rabbit numbers.
Best practice rabbit management is more than just controlling rabbits. It requires an integrated and strategic plan of action that uses a range of tools and techniques to achieve long-term and cost-effective outcomes. The most effective outcomes occur when rabbit management crosses property boundaries and involves a high degree of cooperation between affected landowners, community groups and other stakeholders.
Control options include poisoning, shooting, removal of cover (habitat manipulation), trapping, fencing, den ripping and biological control. Legal restrictions mean that some control measures cannot be used in certain areas – for example firearm use is restricted in particular locations. One control measure for use in suburban areas is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV, previously known as calicivirus) and can be introduced into rabbit populations through baiting. In Tasmania, the virus is introduced on carrot baits, following a period of pre-feeding to attract rabbits to the bait. Use of the virus is restricted to trained DPIPWE staff.
RHDV is widespread in rabbit populations in Tasmania and the virus may not be a satisfactory control option in all situations. It should be considered for use in areas only where other techniques are unsuitable, and where there has been no evidence of RHDV for over 12 months. Properties throughout Tasmania can be inspected by officers from the Invasive Species Branch to determine the most suitable options for rabbit control, taking into account factors including non-target species, extent of the localised rabbit population and weather conditions.
Vermin Control Act 2000 allows hunting at any time on Crown Land, State Forest and private land (with landowners permission). Domestic rabbits should be desexed and kept enclosed; release of unwanted rabbits is illegal.
Release of Rabbit Calicivirus Disease
DPIPWE undertakes rabbit control by releasing Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease, also known as Rabbit Calicivirus Disease where rabbit numbers are causing significant impacts.
Pindone Use for Rabbit Control
Where rabbits are a problem it is sometimes necessary to use poison to reduce the population quickly.
The PestSmart Toolkit provides information and guidance on best-practice invasive animal management on several key vertebrate pest species including rabbits, foxes, feral pigs and feral cats.
See other invasive mammals:
Foxes | Feral pigs | Feral goats | Feral cats | Ferrets
Birds | Freshwater fish | Other species
Contact: Invasive Species EnquiriesInvasive Species Branch
171 Westbury Road
PROSPECT TAS 7250
Phone: 03 6336 5320
Fax: 03 6336 5453
Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania
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