Management of rabbits in rural areas

Oryctolagus cuniculus

Pest rabbit

Image credit: Scott Jennings 

Rabbits are a serious invasive pest in Australia causing millions of dollars in damage to crops and the natural environment.

It is a landowner’s legal responsibility to control rabbits on their property under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.

Impacts

  • rabbits cause extensive damage to crops, pastures and native vegetation
  • they are difficult to control and will quickly re-invade, so they need constant management
  • deep burrows enable them to survive most environmental conditions
  • they adapt to a variety of food and can graze plants to ground level.

Planning a control program

  • plan and prepare your control program in advance so you can implement the control methods at the right time and in the best sequence
  • try to work in collaboration with your neighbours; this can achieve more widespread and successful results
  • look for signs where rabbits have been active, such as burrows, fresh scratches in the soil, scattered or piled dung and damage to vegetation
  • they also take refuge above ground, in areas such as plant beds or wood heaps
  • rabbits are territorial, generally staying within 200 metres of burrows and shelter and feeding mainly at 25 to 50 metres
  • the best time to do rabbit control work is in late summer or autumn.

How to control this animal

  • there are a number of methods for rabbit control; it is best to use an ongoing combination of them
  • start by estimating the total area the rabbits are using – this is where your control program will need to concentrate
  • control methods include any or all of the following: 
    • removing above-ground refuge
    • destroying warrens and burrows
    • baiting
    • fumigation
    • trapping
    • ferreting 
    • exclusion fencing.

More information

Please contact us for advice and assistance with controlling rabbits.