Feral animals & weeds

Learn how you can help stop the spread of feral animals and weeds damaging our environment.

Feral animals

Many different kinds of animals have been brought to Australia since the First Fleet arrived in 1788. Unfortunately some of these animals have escaped into the bush and become pests. We call these animals 'feral'.

Cats, foxes, dogs, rabbits, pigs, goats, horses, deer, carp, fire ants and cane toads are examples of feral animals in Australia.

Some feral animals hunt, kill and eat native animals. They eat plants and damage the homes and food supplies of native animals. Some feral animals spread disease and kill farm animals.

There are several ways of controlling feral animals, including using traps and poisons.


Weeds are plants that grow in the wrong place. All plants need sunlight, food and water from the soil.

Weeds grow and spread faster than native plants. They shade them and crowd them out.

Without enough sunlight and water, native plants can stop growing or die off. When this happens all the animals that rely on the plants suffer too.

Some common weeds are willows, camphor laurel, privet, blackberry, lantana and bitou bush.

In national parks weeds are killed by digging, cutting or spraying with weed poison. When the weeds are removed, native plants can grow back.

How you can help stop the spread of feral animals and weeds

  • Plant local native plants in your garden.
  • Do not dump weeds in the bush or wash them down stormwater drains.
  • Keep your cats and dogs indoors or locked up at night to stop them from killing native animals.
  • Put at least one bell on your pet's collar to warn wildlife when your pet is around.
  • Do not dump unwanted animals such as kittens, dogs, chickens, fish and rabbits in the bush.

Learn more

Feral animals and weeds activity sheet (PDF 121KB)
How many weeds and feral animals do you know? Print out this activity sheet to find out.


Page last updated: 02 October 2015