Living with native animals

Native animals may live in our backyards, parks, bushland and waterways near urban neighbourhoods.

All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, but not including dingoes, are protected in New South Wales under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. It is an offence to harm, kill or remove native animals unless you hold a licence.

Common brush tail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) eating stolen fruit from inside domestic houseUnderstanding the behaviour and needs of native animals in your area is one of the best ways to appreciate them and to avoid conflict with them.

Conserve and create habitat

Growing native plants on your property, around your home and in your neighbourhood can provide native animals with safe habitat and healthy food. These areas of habitat can also create wildlife corridors that connect native animal populations that have been separated by roads or other development. You can also provide nest boxes and animal houses as an alternative shelter for native animals that may try to settle in the roofs of houses and other buildings, or under them.

In your garden

Rainbow lorikeet feeding on bottlebrush flowers (Callistemon species)
There are a number of ways that you can attract native animals to your garden. For example:
  • add native plants to your garden to provide natural food sources for birds and butterflies
  • plant trees such as acacias, casuarinas and eucalypts to provide food for birds
  • plant flowering shrubs such as banksias, bottlebrushes and grevilleas to provide safe, healthy food for blossom-feeding birds such as lorikeets and honeyeaters
  • grow prickly/spiky native plants like hakeas, lambertias or dillwynias to create safe sites for small birds to nest, feed and shelter.

Contact your local council or Local Land Services for advice on the most suitable native plants to grow in your area. Many local councils hold community tree-planting days where native seedlings are provided to residents free of charge. Your local council may also run a community nursery that sells native plants local to your area. This can lead to a community-wide approach to provide suitable native habitat across your local area.

Other garden tips

  • avoid chemical fertilisers and pesticides: there are often simple, cheaper, chemical-free alternatives
  • use mulch on your garden, which is great for worms and tiny bugs as well as retaining moisture
  • use rocks to provide a shelter or sunny spot for lizards
  • check for lizards when gardening or mowing to avoid injuring them
  • provide a source of fresh water
  • build a nest box or a birdhouse for your local birds
  • make a pond and create a home for frogs and fish
  • add a butterfly box and give butterflies a sheltered place to spend winter - this will mean you'll have more butterflies in your garden in spring.

Learn more about creating habitat for local native animals and insects at Backyard Buddies.


Combine conservation with managing your property and improve the health of your land by creating or conserving wildlife habitat. For example:

  • restore or plant native vegetation
  • create a wildlife refuge
  • establish a conservation agreement with us to protect threatened species and their habitat on your land
  • protect threatened species and/or their habitat on your property with the Nature Conservation Trust.