Rabbit control in greater Geelong

To better understand what we’re doing to control rabbits, why we’re doing it and how you can help in your area, please read on.

Rabbits are Australia’s most serious pest herbivore and we are legally required to control them. Only one rabbit per hectare will stop the growth and regeneration of native plants. Rabbits also promote the spread of noxious weed species such as boxthorn and gorse.


Rabbit Control Plan 2021-2026

The City's inaugural Rabbit Control Plan 2021-2026 was adopted at the 27 July Council Meeting. The City would like to thank our community and the various stakeholders who provided input into the development of the plan over the three phases of consultation. We are looking forward to implementing this important plan.

Please visit our Have Your Say page to download a copy of the final plan and learn more about the consultation process involved.


Recent rabbit control activities

Rabbit baiting program - April 2021

The City's annual pindone baiting program was completed in April - May 2021 to reduce high rabbit numbers at thirteen City-managed reserves. The program is performed to help prevent the impacts that rabbits cause including environment degradation and damage to recreational infrastructure.  

The baiting program occurred at the following City-managed reserves:

  1. Edsall Reserve in Wallington
  2. Buckley Park (Point Lonsdale end) 
  3. Drysdale Sports Precinct
  4. Lake Lorne (including the Drysdale Pony Club) in Drysdale
  5. McLeods Waterholes in Drysdale 
  6. Hovells Creek Reserve from Windermere Road to Forest North Road in Lara 
  7. Lara Lakelands Reserve at 8 Kanowna Place 
  8. Limeburners East in Avalon 
  9. Moorpanyal Park in North Shore 
  10. Mount Brandon Peninsula, Barwon River Reserve in Highton (opposite Rivergum Drive) 
  11. Mount Duneed Recreation Reserve 
  12. Waurn Ponds Creek – Rossack Drive to Pioneer Road – both sides of the Creek 
  13. Waurn Ponds Creek – West side of Rossack Drive only– both sides of the Creek 

Baiting only occurs behind permanent and/or temporary fencing. Reserve closure signs display a four-week window of baiting dates. We ask for the public’s cooperation to not access the baiting areas during this period.


Other recent rabbit control activities

  1. Mt Duneed Recreation Reserve - warrens ripped and fumigated
  2. Mt Brandon Peninsula (53-57 Rivergum Drive, Highton) - warrens (and a fox den)fumigated).
  3. Basin Reserve, Drysdale - warrens fumigated
  4. Belchers Reserve, Drysdale - harbor removed
  5. Hovell's Creek, Lara (between Windermere Rd and Forest Rd Nth) - warrens fumigated
  6. Hovell's Creek, Lara (8 Kanowna Place) - Harbour removed (boxthorn thicket), warrens fumigated.
  7. Edsall Reserve, Wallington - warrens fumigated
  8. Dooliebeal Reserve, Armstrong Creek - warrens fumigated and rabbit proof gate installed
  9. Knights Road (Queenscliff Road end)
    Permission has been granted from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) to impact the roadside native vegetation (to the minimum extent necessary) during implosion, ripping and fumigation activities. Please note that we will be very careful to have as little impact on the native vegetation present as possible. Over 200 warrens have been fumigated and over 640 entrances closed.
  10. Manifold Road St Leonards
    Permission has been granted from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) to impact the roadside native vegetation (to the minimum extent necessary) during implosion and ripping activities. Please note that we will be very careful to have as little impact on the native vegetation present as possible.
    Over 250 warrens with 627 entrances have been fumigated and manually collapsed. A total of 4.14 tonnes of bower spinach, sea berry saltbush and fallen timber was taken to the Drysdale Transfer Station and 3 sheoak limbs were removed. No other native species were impacted during these works.
  11. Community support
    The City provided assistance to the Batesford, Stonehaven and Fyansford Landcare Group and the Barrabool Hills Landcare Group with their baiting programs by performing a mail out to properties in their target areas.

Rabbits in the City

Rabbits breed very quickly. As a result, rabbit populations can multiply rapidly and spread over large areas if no effective control action is taken.

Rabbits are Australia’s most serious pest herbivore. Only one rabbit per hectare will stop the growth and regeneration of native plants. Rabbits also promote the spread of noxious weed species such as Boxthorn and Gorse.

The damage that uncontrolled rabbit infestations can have on the environment, agriculture and our open spaces is enormous, costing Australian agriculture alone an estimated $600 million per year.

Pest control is a complex issue and there are often conflicting community views on what actions we should take to control rabbits.

We receive many complaints from the community about rabbits, especially as they become more visible in suburban gardens, agricultural areas and City managed reserves.

Our rabbit control program has been developed using expert advice, including information provided by Agriculture Victoria and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.

The recent expansion of the City’s rabbit control program has been made possible by the Restoring Rural Landscapes program. This City-funded, landscape restoration program has greatly increased the resources available for pest plant and animal control activities on City-managed reserves and roadsides.

Please watch this video to learn more about why rabbits are such a big problem in the Geelong region. A big thank you to Sophie and Geoff from the Bellarine Landcare Group for sharing their time and expertise.


Responsibility for rabbit control

Every landowner is responsible for the control of rabbits on their land.

We are responsible for controlling rabbits on City-owned and managed land. We also can play a role in raising awareness of the harm rabbits cause, promote and encourage best practice control techniques and support local Landcare groups to coordinate local control programs.

Agriculture Victoria is responsible for overseeing and enforcing rabbit control under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.


Prioritising rabbit control activities

In general, we prioritise control activities at locations where:

  • we can partner with and coordination our efforts with adjoining landholders, public land managers and Landcare groups
  • high biodiversity values are present or to protect assets such as sporting fields, buildings and walking tracks.

Our control efforts are constrained by many factors, including:

  • the large area of land that we manage, and the range of landscapes and habitats within it
  • our finite resources (budget and time)
  • community safety and wellbeing concerns and/or perceptions of risk
  • native vegetation laws
  • cultural heritage laws
  • Underground services
  • laws regulating to management around waterways (this is a particularly complex issue).

We adapt our control program and the methods we utilize depending on the constraints present at each site.


Control rabbits on your property

  • Visit the Pest Smart website or the Agriculture Victoria website for more advice.
  • The Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN) also have many useful videos on their YouTube channel.
  • Contact your local Landcare Group to find out more about rabbit control in your area.
  • Remember – coordinated action brings the best results. Get together with your neighbors and talk about how you might work together to control rabbits in your area.



Need to know more...

Contact our Environment and Biodiversity Team on 03 5272 5272 and ask to speak to someone about rabbit control or email [email protected].





Page last updated: Friday, 30 July 2021

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