Rabbit Control

The Darling Downs–Moreton Rabbit Board Fence protects some of the state’s most productive agricultural land from the devastation caused by rabbits which are constantly threatening to outbreak in plague proportions in response to beneficial climatic environmental changes.

Prohibited pet in Queensland

The rabbit is a restricted invasive animal and is a prohibited pet in Queensland. It is considered a key threatening pest in Australia and, for this reason, the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage has developed a Threat Abatement Plan for rabbits.

Devastating impact on native wildlife

Rabbits have played a role in the reduced numbers and extinction of many native animals by competing for food and burrow space. In drought times rabbits climb trees to forage on the foliage and often ringbark trees in their search for moisture. They are destroying many of our native plants and are capable of eating seedlings and killing 2.5 to 3.5 metre high shrubs by ring-barking them.

The Importance of the Warren

An understanding of the biology of rabbits highlights the importance of warrens which provides protection from weather and predators and enables rabbits to inhabit semi-arid and arid country. By destroying warrens, rabbit reproduction and survival is greatly reduced as they require green feed and cool temperatures to breed. If the temperature is above 28oC then the females cannot produce sufficient milk for their young. As rabbits do not dig new warrens readily, the most effective and long-term form of rabbit management is usually through destruction of warren networks with rippers mounted on bulldozers.

Cause of major environmental damage

Impact on agricultural production is greatest in drier areas where pasture production is low and rabbits can increase to high densities and compete with stock for grazing pasture.

Key Rabbit Breeding Facts

- Rabbits breed from 3-4 months of age

- Rabbits are pregnant for 30 days and give birth to litters of 4-7 young

- A mature female rabbit can be continuously pregnant for between 6-8 months per year under favourable conditions

- A single pair of rabbits can produce 30-40 young per year

Further information about the European Rabbit is available from:

Managing Vertebrate Pests. Rabbits - Bureau of Resource Sciences and CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology – 1995 (PDF, 1342 kB) This publication provides land managers with ‘best practice’ national guidelines for managing the agricultural and environmental damage caused by rabbits.

Biosecurity Queensland has numerous fact sheets published on its web site:

Biosecurity Queensland fact sheets

Methods to Eradicate Rabbits include the following:

- Removal of above ground harbour e.g., timber piles, blackberry bushes, boxthorn, car bodies etc.

- Ripping of warrens by tractor to a minimum depth of 600mm

- Raising Shipping Containers at least 400mm above the ground

- Fumigation of rabbit warrens

- Biological controls e.g., Myxomatosis or Rabbit Calicivirus Disease

- Pindone poison

- Trapping

- Shooting

Diseases of Rabbits include:

- Myxomatosis

- Rabbit Calicivirus

- Hydatids

- Coccidiosis and Liver Fluke

- Rabbits are also affected by intestinal worms and dog tapeworms

Biosecurity Act 2014

It is illegal to keep rabbits in Queensland unless you hold a rabbit keeping permit.

Permits can be obtained, if you meet specific criteria, from the Department of Agriculture Fisheries – 07 3087 8024

The Darling Downs Moreton Rabbit Board does not issue rabbit keeping permits.

Maximum Penalties:

Category 3 restricted matter – distribute/sell offence - Max penalty 500 penalty units
Category 4 restricted matter – moving offence - Max penalty 500 penalty points units
Category 5 restricted matter – keeping offence - Max penalty 500 penalty points units
Category 6 restricted matter – feeding offence - Max penalty 500 penalty units

As at 1 July 2021, 1 penalty unit is $143.75; 500 penalty units = $71,875

If you require further information contact the Chief Executive Officer: (07) 4661 4076


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