European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)


European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are declared pests of agriculture in Western Australia under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. As such, landholders are required to control rabbits on their properties. Even landholders not actively using their property are still legally obliged to control rabbits to protect their neighbours’ land from the impact of rabbits.

Read about LBG’s annual Calicivirus RHDV1-K5 summer program: Calicivirus RHDV1-K5, one tool in an integrated approach for effective rabbit control  

Leschenault Biosecurity Group (LBG) can assist landholders with development of an integrated management approach to rabbit control using variety of control methods and tools. Contact us to discuss what is best for you and your property.

• compete with native animals for food & shelter
• destroy crops, pastures, revegetation, etc
• damage gardens, sportsgrounds & parkland reserves
• undermine verandas, garages, sheds & more
• maintain fox & feral cat populations
• have contributed to the extinction of several small (up to 5.5 kilograms) ground-dwelling mammals
• costs an estimated $250 million annually worth of damage to Australian Agriculture

European rabbits are one of the most common and widespread animal pests in Australia. They are pests because they compete with livestock and native animals for pasture and food, damage crops and native vegetation, and cause erosion. Rabbits are a serious threat to both agriculture and native biodiversity.

The key to management success is persistence. One-off efforts produce only short-term results as rabbits may produce many offspring and populations can recover quickly even after successful control programs. Maximum effectiveness is achieved by integrating appropriate control methods. Best control is achieved in late summer when rabbit numbers are decreasing, and feed is limited. District-wide campaigns can reduce the problem of re-infestation by covering a large area.

To optimise control of feral rabbits, a combination of control tools and methods, such as targeted releases of Calicivirus RHDV1-K5, strategic fencing and tree protection, harbourage reduction, cleaning rubble and wood piles that may be used as refuge and tree protection are advised. We approach rabbit management with the integrated use of a variety of tools and strategies, including with cooperation and assistance of participating landholders within our operational area, targeted releases of the Calicivirus RHDV1 K5 (the “K5″ strain of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV).

LBG can assist with:
• rabbit control advice specific to your property
• Calicivirus RHDV1 K5 releases during area-wide summer program
• loan of surveillance cameras, traps and smokers for investigations of warrens and burrows

Please contact us to discuss rabbit control strategies for YOUR property, including:
• Biological Control _ Calicivirus RHDV1 K5 Release Program (conducted during summer months)
• Harbourage reduction
• Exclusion fencing
• Warren ripping
• Baiting* and trapping
• Other as may be applicable to your property

Best practice methods for controlling rabbits can vary. CONTACT LBG for personalised advice specific to your property be e-mail at or ring us on 0477 049 967.

* Before commencing any baiting program, be aware of off-target risks and strictly adhere to guidance specific to each product. For information on bait, poison and toxin (bait) products available for use in WA relevant to rabbits, please visit the following link: DPIRD_Rabbit control: bait products