Feral rabbit populations are increasing on the North Shore and cause major environmental damage, including the destruction of native vegetation, sportsfields, reserves and gardens.

According to Industry and Investment NSW, feral rabbits cost Australia over $200 million in damage each year.

Report a rabbit sighting

You can help us monitor the movements of rabbits by reporting them online. 

Report a rabbit sighting

Council control efforts

RHDV 1 K5 calicivirus release - Monday 11 February 2019

Australia has been engaged in feral rabbit control programs since the 1920s. The control of feral animal populations in urban areas is most effective when carried out in a coordinated manner.

Council has participated in a cooperative RHDV calicivirus release program since 2015 with a number of other Council’s on Sydney’s North Shore and the Local Land Services and more recently with private land owners. The program is conducted annually.

Release sites

Spotlight surveys, information from Feral Scan and reports from residents help to identify rabbit activity. With this information we can be certain we are releasing the virus where it is needed the most. The virus is spread by insects vectors such as bushflies and mosquitoes and direct contact between rabbits.

Release site locations (pdf. 535KB)

Important notice for owners of pet rabbits

Pet rabbits can be protected by having them vaccinated at your vet or by housing pet rabbits in a fly and mosquito-proof enclosure. All other animals and humans will not be affected by the virus.

FAQs of the RHDV1 K5virus can be found here

Learn more about the different strains of virus here

More information about vaccinations from Vet Voice

What about my pet rabbit 

Poisoning with Pindone via carrot bait

This is heavily regulated by NSW Department of Primary Industries through the Local Land Services and requires a permit.

It is generally done by governments on government land or in corporation with private land owners on land greater than 1000sqm. Persons undertaking this method must hold a current AQF-3 Chemical Accreditation or have completed the 1080 and Pindone Course (also known as the Vertebrate Pesticide Training Course).  With the use of poison care must be undertaken to minimise impacts on our native wildlife, for this reason Council undertakes a detailed risk assessment and follows strict guidelines to ensure the program can be delivered safely.

Council is planning on implementing baiting programs twice yearly in December and June. If you would like to participate in this program please contact Council.

Control options for private properties

In terms of keeping rabbits out of your property, the best option is to undertake fencing and attach rabbit netting to an existing fence around the area requiring protection. Most fencing contractors should be able to undertake these works at a relatively low cost. In addition to fencing, Council recommends that a private pest control company, specialising in vertebrate pest control, is contacted to assist in eradicating rabbits on your land.

Other options include:

  • Spraying your plants with a liquid deterrent made from boiled garlic and chilli or spreading blood and bone fertilizer, both techniques will have to be repeated after rain.
  • Poisoning with Pindone oat bait  - This is a product that can be used by residents in accordance with the product label. A condition of this product is that it can only be used in properties large than 1000sqm. Properties less than 1000sqm will need to get an off label permit from Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).  This control technique increases the potential to harm non-target native animals like bandicoots, so currently it’s not a method that would be encouraged if you have bandicoots in your yard or you live next to bushland areas (it an offensive to harm native wildlife NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1979).  Council is happy to provide technical assists for residents who want to use this method. Learn more here.
  • Rabbit Warren Fumigation - This method can only be done by licenced Pest Controllers and involves releasing a poisonous gas into the rabbit warren.  It can be done on private land and is not limited to lot size. The problem is that many of the rabbit infestations in Ku-ring-gai are scrub rabbits, meaning that they live in the bush as opposed to warrens.
  • Cage trapping and euthanasia – this method involved using a cage trap to capture rabbits and then they can be taken to an approved vet to be euthanized.  Council has traps which can be borrowed and the cost of euthanasia is covered by Council.

More information

Please contact your local vet for further advice.

Rabbit Management Plan 2013 - 2017 (pdf. 88KB)

Feral Rabbit brochure (pdf. 2MB)

Frequently Asked Questions

RHDV K5 product details (pdf. 695KB)

RHDV pesticide control order (pdf. 188KB)

Related links