Feeding animals

Feeding animals
Photo of three parrots being fed by hand
Our City provides lots of natural food for our wildlife. Our native animals do not need our help finding food. Our City provides lots of natural food for our wildlife. Our native animals do not need our help finding food.  
Photo of three parrots being fed by hand

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Our native animals are beautiful wild creatures. They rely on the environment for all their food, water and shelter. Although you may not realise it, there is natural habitat in our City for wildlife to forage in, providing lots of food. Our native animals do not need our help finding food. 
​There are many reasons why we shouldn't feed wildlife. Not only is it bad for their health, but it can also have an impact on our own health and safety. 

​Why is it bad? 

Feeding harms wildlife

Many people enjoy feeding wildlife and believe that they are helping our animals. 
In fact feeding wildlife does more harm than good, including:
  • It can make animals sick. Human food, particularly bread, can be very unhealthy for wildlife. This is because these foods are often low in nutrition. Bread and other human food is a fast food option for wildlife. If these foods are eaten too often animals will become sluggish and malnourished. 
  • It makes animals lazy. Human food is a quick and easy option for animals. Over time they become dependent on artificial food sources and lose their ability to forage for natural food. Young animals may not be taught how to forage naturally and therefore risk starvation and malnutrition. 
  • It increases their risk of predation. Leftover food can attract pests and vermin, like foxes, that may also prey on young animals. 
  • It encourages non-native animals into the area. Other animals compete for natural resources with our native animals and may aggressively chase native species out of the area.  

​Feeding harms our environment

​Artificial feeding encourages wildlife to gather in unusually large groups. Although the food appears to be helping our animals to survive, it can actually have a negative impact on waterbodies and the urban environment. 
It can: 
  • Causes public health issues. When birds gather together for a quick feed it increases the amount of droppings in an area. This leads to fouling of footpaths and park amenities. 
  • Pollute our water. Uneaten food rots and causes serious water pollution problems. Artificial feeding also encourages birds to flock in abnormally high number. The droppings of such large numbers causes additional nutrients to be added to the water and often leads to algae problems. 
  • Attract vermin. Leftover food can attract pests and vermin. 

Feeding may harm you 

Feeding animals, particularly birds, puts us in direct contact with them. 
It increases the risk that you may be bitten by wildlife. Competition for food can promote aggression. Sometimes animals will become fearless and start taking food out of your picnic basket. 

​What will they eat? 

 Wildlife will not starve if you do not feed them, instead they will look for their own food. Different types of birds and animals eat different foods. These may include fish, insects, plant materials (like algae, nectar, pollen, seeds, grains, fruits and berries), small mammals and reptiles, crabs and other crustaceans, frogs, tadpoles and their eggs, and water bugs.
​Here are some common examples. 
  • Pacific Black Duck - forages in water. Mostly eats seeds, but will also dabble (duck dive) for crustaceans, freshwater snails and water bugs. 
  • Australian Wood Duck - forages on land and in shallow water. Prefers to eat grasses and clover, but will also eat insects. 
  • Australian White Ibis - forages in shallow water. Prefers to eat crayfish and mussels, but will also eat insects, frogs and small mammals.
  • Laughing Kookaburra - feeds mostly on insects, worms and crustaceans, but will also eat small snakes, mammals and frogs. 
  • Rainbow Lorikeet - eats nectar and pollen from trees and shrubs, but also eats fruits, seeds and some insects. 
  • Noisy Miner - mostly feeds on nectar, fruits and insects. 
  • Eastern Long-Necked Turtle - mainly eats fish, tadpoles, frogs and crayfish. 
  • Eastern Water Dragon - feeds on small reptiles, worms, frogs, insects, vegetation, fruit, small mammals and molluscs. 
  • Short-finned Eel - mainly a carnivorous feeder that eats aquatic animals including fish, insects, yabbies, shrimps, molluscs and frogs. 

​What can I do? 

  • Do not feed our wildlife; 
  • Place all unwanted food scraps in tightly lidded bins; 
  • Plant native plants in your garden to encourage native animals and insects; and 
  • Teach your friends and neighbours about not feeding our wildlife. Remember wildlife should be admired and respected at a distance.

Cont​act

For more information, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 9707 9000.