Pest animals and management

Pest animals and management
Photo of a feral cat eating a native bird
Pests can impact of the lives of our residents. Read about how pests can affect you and what Council is doing to reduce harm. Pest Animals canterbury bankstown Feral foxes, bees, wasps and other pests can impact of the lives of our residents. Read about how such creatures can affect you and what we as Council are doing to reduce harm.  
Photo of a feral cat eating a native bird

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Pest animals can have a significant impact on biodiversity, particularly in urbanised areas like ours. Introduced species such as foxes, rabbits and cats are a major threat to biodiversity and threaten the survival of many of our native animal species. Feral animals can out-compete native animals for resources such as food and breeding sites, spread disease, prey on native fauna and aggressively displace other fauna.  

​What is a pest animal?

Pest animals are defined as non-native, or introduced, species that are, or have the potential to become, established in the wild through escape from captivity, deliberate or accidental release and accidental or illegal importation.
So, while your neighbour's barking dog or a possum in your roof might be annoying, they are not officially classified as a "pest". To formally qualify as a pest animal species must be listed in the relevant legislation. 
Although little information is available on the exact impact of introduced fauna within our area it is considered highly likely these species have a pronounced impact, primarily on native fauna. Predation by a number of feral species has been listed as a key threatening process under the Threatened Species Conservation (TSC) Act 1995. The species listed under this act that are known to occur in Canterbury-Bankstown are:  
  • Domestic cat (Felis domesticus);
  • European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus);
  • European Red fox (Vulpes vulpes); and 
  • Mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki).
Other animals that are often considered pests, but that aren't listed under the TSC Act include: 
  • Indian Mynas; and 
  • European Carp and Goldfish. 
Sometimes we can also have problems with native animals becoming a nuisance or a danger. Brush-tailed possums, snakes, spiders and some birds are all well known for being a little too friendly by visiting our houses. Although these animals might be annoying, almost all native animals are protected by law in NSW. 

Reducing the impact of other introduced pest animals

There are many things you can do to help negate the impact of pest animals.
  • Remove uneaten food;
  • Put several bells on your cats collar to warn wildlife of its approach - cats can be cunning and can work out how to keep a single bell quiet; 
  • Keep your cat indoors at night;
  • Be sure to practice responsible pet ownership by desexing your pets to prevent unwanted/unplanned litters; 
  • Regularly monitor you yard to ensure that pets are contained; and 
  • Report fox sightings on feral scan.

Problems with native animals 

Most wild animals are harmless but, occasionally, a few species can cause problems. It is good to remember that animals are only following their instincts and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them, just as we all do. Swooping, building nests and eating vegies are some of the behaviours that may cause annoyance.​
If native animals, like flying-foxes (bats), possums, birds or snakes, are causing you concern there may be something you can do to reduce the impact. Visit Council's Local Animals page for more information.
It is important to remember that all native wildlife is protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

​More about pest animals 

cat.jpg  Cats
When not in our homes cats offer a threat to native wildlife. They are skilled hunters, often hunting at night when our smaller mammals are most active.  When outside our homes lost/escaped domestic cats can become feral. Feral cats are the same species as domestic cats, however they live and reproduce in the wild and survive by hunting or scavenging. 
​For you home cat there are a few things you can do to limit its impact on our natural wildlife. Put several bells on your cats collar to warn wildlife of its approach - (cats are cunning animals and can work out how to keep a single bell quiet!). Keep your cat indoors at night - night-time is when many small native mammals are active and at risk from cat attacks. If this is not practical construct a cat run in your backyard to ensure your cat doesn’t become a night-time predator.

red-fox-202147_960_720.jpgEuropean Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) 

Foxes are found all across our region. Controlling foxes is very complex in urban areas and requires many different landowners working together. 
Currently we are gathering information that helps us identify areas where foxes are breeding. We are also in contact with other urban Councils to investigate options for possible suitable and humane solutions.

​What can I do?

  • Minimise foxes entering your property. 
  • Do not leave food outside. When your pet has finished eating remove all leftovers. 
  • Do not leave chicken feed uncontained. This may attract rats that will then attract the foxes into your yard. 
  • Ensure chickens are contained in a secure chicken coop at night. Foxes are excellent climbers and diggers so enclosures need to either have a roof or fences at least 2m high and an overhang of 30cm. The floor will need to be protected with mesh or alternatively bury the overhang into the ground and outwards of the enclosure. 
  • Turn outside lights off at night to prevent attracting insects. 

​Report foxes

Fox sightings can be reported to Council via the FoxScan w​ebsite​. 
Your information will help to map the distribution of foxes, enabling Council to make better decisions about fox control and management. The mapping of fox sightings, fox damage and their dens is an important step towards regional fox control. As the project develops, we will provide updates about how your data is helping this important program.

mosquito fish.jpgMosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki)

More commonly, the Plague Minnow or Mosquito Fish is a feral fish that is causing significant environmental damage in our local waterways. Gambusia were introduced to Australia in the 1920's as an aquarium fish and later used, unsuccessfully, to control mosquitos in waterways. Gambusia are an aggressive predator, they outbreed and compete for food with native fish and frogs, eat their eggs and kill baby fish and tadpoles. Research has shown that this species is a contributing factor to the decline and even loss of native fish and frog species. Gambusia can live in most aquatic conditions and once introduced into a waterbody, are extremely difficult to remove. It is currently illegal to release Gambusia into any waterbody in NSW. Despite the impacts of this fish on the natural environment, Gambusia are still sold in pet shops as feeder fish or to put into backyard ponds. Make sure you don't contribute to the loss of native fish and frogs in our waterways by purchasing Gambusia for your pond or aquarium. ​

European Carp.jpgEuropean Carp and Goldfish 

Carp and Goldfish are pest species of fish common in many waterways. They impact the health of aquatic ecosystems by increasing water turbidity and nutrient concentrations, destroying aquatic plants, and potentially causing the recurrence of toxic blue-green algae blooms. They also breed rapidly, eliminating native fish, tadpoles and other small lifeforms. Council has undertaken a program of electro-fishing to reduce the number of these pests. It is hoped the reintroduced Australian Bass will also impact their populations via predation. Council's ongoing Monthly Water Monitoring Program demonstrates that from October 2003 total nutrient levels have steadily declined.  
​To help stop the spread of these pests please do not release unwanted aquarium fish into waterways. 

Indian_Myna.JPGIndian Myna

The World Conservation Union has listed Indian Mynas as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species. They are very aggressive and intelligent birds and have been known to evict native birds such as parrots, kookaburras and peewees from their nests and chase them away from roosting sites. In urban areas, Indian Mynas take over tree hollows and habitat boxes and may fill hollows with rubbish to prevent other birds and animals from using them. In addition, hollows abandoned by Indian Mynas are avoided by native species for years. It is thought that Indian Mynas may pose a serious threat to the long-term future of many native species, particularly in urban areas, by their aggressive nature and through competition for resources.
​Indian Mynas feed mainly on fruits, berries, grains, flower nectar and insects. However, they are also known to eat pet food and food scraps, particularly in school grounds, shopping centres and outdoor eating areas.

 What can I do?

  • ​Plant a range of native plants (trees, shrubs and groundcovers) to provide protection for native animals;
  • Cover gaps in buildings and eaves with bird-proof netting or wire mesh and block any active nest or roost entrances;
  • Don’t leave food scraps or leftover cat or dog food outside;
  • Place a fake snake in a tree;
  • Put up a picture of a hawk or other bird of prey on a window of your house;
  • Place old CDs around your garden, these reflect light deterring birds;
  • Continually shoo Indian Mynas away; and 
  • Do not to feed native or introduced birds as this will only encourage aggressive or pest species such as Indian Mynas.​