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Pest animals

Council takes measures to protect our indigenous flora and fauna from the harmful effects caused by introduced, non-native animal species. 

We are guided by the Victorian Government in relation to the management and control of pest species.

Foxes and rabbits

Foxes and rabbits are an introduced species in Australia. They spread weeds, out-compete native animals for habitat, and create erosion problems. Rabbits in particular consume large amounts of vegetation, stunting plant growth and causing the death of sensitive plant populations. 

The management of foxes in urban areas is becoming increasingly difficult due to the lack of safe and fox-specific management options. Traditional control strategies such as baiting and shooting are not possible in an urban environment.

Den fumigation is one of the few practical control options available and is generally carried out during spring whilst mother and cubs remain confined to the den. The mother suckles the pups for 4–5 weeks, and they remain hidden in the den while the father brings food to them.  Dens can be quite hard to detect but are often a hole dug into the side of a mound, dirt will be kicked out backwards as foxes dig in a similar manner to dogs. Signs that there may be cubs in a den will be things like fur or feathers at the entrance which is an indication that the adult is bringing food to the cubs. Occasionally cubs may be seen at the entrance.

If you have located a den, then a pest controller licensed for the control of foxes will be able to assist you.  A quick web search or check of telephone directories will provide a range of service providers.  Foxes roam over long distances and are good climbers so will often be seen in urban yards.  Due to the distance that foxes roam, sighting a fox roaming is not helpful for the identification of dens and thus control.   Any trapping of foxes must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) and associated regulations and only by a licensed pest controller.

To discourage foxes from your property ensure that food sources such as rubbish, food scraps, compost and pet food are not accessible to foxes that may be passing through. Foxes are great scavengers and will eat a wide variety of food, so don’t encourage them by leaving food out.

If you believe you have found a fox den on Council Land, please contact Council on 1300 88 22 33 and provide the exact location so that Council is able to find and treat the den.

Dogs, cats and horses in bushland reserves

Dogs and cats

Dogs and cats have a huge negative impact on our natural bushland areas.

  • Their presence and scent causes great stress to the local wildlife.
  • Their droppings act as a fertilizer for weeds, which can wipe out large areas of indigenous vegetation. Droppings can also be directly harmful to indigenous plants, as they are naturally adapted to low nutrient soils.
  • Their fur tends to attract seed of exotic plant species, spreading weeds into natural bushland areas and impacting on indigenous vegetation.
  • They have been known to dig up, tread on and eat indigenous plant species, adding to the loss of indigenous orchids and other natural vegetation.
  • They are capable of killing large numbers of wildlife. Cats in particular are opportunist hunters; their prime hunting time is at night. A bell fitted to their collar has proved largely unsuccessful as a warning to wildlife. Cats must be kept indoors or contained from dusk to dawn. 
  • Dogs in public places must be kept on a leash at all times except in designated off-leash areas. Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their animals and fines can be issued if the owner does not comply.

Horses

  • Horses have an inefficient digestive system which allows intact seeds to pass through without loss of viability, so horse droppings contain fertile weed seed which germinates and grows rapidly because the manure is an excellent source of nutrients.
  • Horse hooves lead to soil compaction and erosion, which also affects the natural vegetation. Australian plants and soil are not accustomed to hooved animals, as no native Australian animal has hooves. 

Indian myna birds

Under the State Government's Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, Indian myna birds are not a declared pest animal. 

The Victorian Government monitors the spread of Indian myna birds as part of the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, but has not introduced a specific program to control the species.

19/05/2017
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