The right tools for the job. rabbit control style
04 December 2021
Landholders across the Limestone Coast are urged to control rabbits as ideal breeding conditions combined with an abundance of food has fuelled population growth in some areas.
Maintaining pressure on rabbits each year improves farm productivity, reduces food resources for foxes and feral cats and helps protect remnant native vegetation and wildlife habitat.
Limestone Coast Landscape Board Landscape Officer Saxon Ellis said the damage caused by rabbits to both primary production and infrastructure can be devastating.
“A single pair of rabbits have the potential to breed and multiply up to 180 rabbits in 18 months under ideal conditions,” Mr Ellis said.
Although summer is usually the ideal time to start a control program, rabbits can breed year-round in the southern Limestone Coast region due to readily available food sources.
“The rabbit control tool box needs to be well stocked with tools and determination to make an impact on the rabbit population,” Mr Ellis said.
“There is no stand-alone method to control rabbits,” he added.
“The best approach to managing rabbit populations is through a coordinated rabbit control program utilising a variety of rabbit control methods such as spotlighting to find your problem areas, targeted poisoning and follow up warren destruction.”
Options available for landholders can include trail baiting with poison 1080 oat bait, poison pindone oat or carrot bait, fumigation, biological control with Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) and warren destruction.
Landholders have the option to purchase and introduce rabbit calici virus to their rabbit population and this can be achieved by lacing oats or carrots or by injecting and releasing an infected rabbit in a population (if you can catch one).
Landscape Officers from the Limestone Coast Landscape Board are located throughout the region and can support landholders in planning their rabbit control program, including supply of baits and bait laying equipment hire.
“We encourage landholders start planning their late summer rabbit control with 1080 or Pindone now as the demand for baitlayers can be high,” Mr Ellis said.
An important consideration is to plan rabbit control with your neighbours where possible as this can achieve the most significant reduction to the rabbit population, be more cost effective and provide less likelihood of fast reinfestation.
Baiting at least twice a year during early spring and again in late summer is optimal.
Under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, feral rabbits are declared for control and it is the responsibility of landholders to control rabbit populations on their land.
For more information on rabbit management in your area contact your local Landscape Officer by calling the Limestone Coast Landscape Board in Mount Gambier on 8735 1204 or in Keith on 8755 1620.