Environment & Waste

Feral Animals


A fox control program for the COSS and Bushland Reserves is run in conjunction with other State Government Agencies.

For information regarding​ the ongoing control program, please ​see our Fox Baiting ​Information page. 

Foxes are extremely efficient nocturnal predators. The fox control program keeps fox numbers lower than they otherwise would be, but cannot eradicate them from the area.

To protect your pets and stock, ensure that your fencing is appropriate to prevent access to foxes, and that any vulnerable pets or stock, such as chickens, are secured every night.

The DPI Fact Sheet on Urban Foxes has more detail on how to fox-proof your property to protect your pets and stock.


Rabbits are a common pest on the Central Coast, however they are mostly attracted to areas with short, mown grass and are not generally found with the natural area reserves.

The Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) will not investigate rabbit infestations on blocks less than 10 hectares. Baiting of rabbits is not permitted on blocks smaller than 1000sqm, ruling out most urban blocks.

Council will only investigate reports of rabbits on council land where rabbit warrens are evident. Council has a rabbit control program on COSS and Bushland Reserves, however baiting will only be considered if the rabbits are living there, and the damage caused is significant. When baiting is carried out, signs are erected and local vets advised in the event a dog or cat eats the bait.

If you have a rabbit infestation on private property, you may wish to contact commercial contractors to find out about your control options.

Indian Mynahs

The Indian Mynah is a medium sized bird introduced to Australia in the 1860s to control insect pests in market gardens. They are now found throughout much of eastern Australia, and have formed large populations in suburban and urban areas.

These birds do not only eat insects, they are successful omnivorous scavengers that feed on food scraps and animal feed. They thrive in urban areas where there are many food sources, and are spreading into rural areas where stock feed is easily accessible.

At night, they roost in large, noisy flocks. Indian Mynahs breed in tree hollows, often forcibly evicting native species.

Discourage Indian Mynahs from your garden by:

  • Removing any bird seed from feeders if they are in your area;
  • Feeding your pets indoors, or removing pet bowls as soon as they have finished their meal;
  • Feed your poultry in a secure pen that Indian Mynahs cannot access or invest in a vermin-proof poultry feeder;
  • Feed large stock such as horses and goats from containers and remove these after they have fed;
  • Cover compost to prevent Indian Mynahs foraging;
  • Seal access to your roof and eaves, and trim any dead material from palm trees to prevent them nesting in your garden. 

Black rats

Large rats found in and around houses are the feral black rat (Rattus rattus) or brown rats (Rattus norvegicus). These rats are introduced pests. The native bush rats (Rattus fuscipes) and swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) are not commonly seen in urban or suburban areas, preferring the dense cover of undisturbed bushland.

The presence of black and brown rats can be reduced via simple measures such as not leaving potential food sources lying around your yard, such as open compost piles, pet food and bird feeders.

Feral cats

Cats are not native to Australia. Thousands of cats were released in the areas of the gold fields for mouse control in the 19th century. Cats have always been popular domestic animals, originally for control of rats and mice, and more recently as companion animals.

Since they were first introduced to Australia, many have been released, or have escaped into the bush, where they have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. These cats do not depend on humans for food or shelter and are wild or feral.

Pigeons and turtledoves

Feral pigeons and turtledoves can quickly develop into large flocks if there is artificial feed available. Larger populations can increase the risk of spreading disease into native bird populations and your own pet birds.

Providing free feed to any birds is not recommended for the following reasons:

  • Native lorikeets have specialised tongues that look like a mini bottlebrush that is adapted for drinking nectar. They will happily eat bird seed from a feeder, which will eventually wear their tongues smooth which leads to them no longer being able to drink nectar.
  • Other parrots will be attracted to your free bird seed, and may congregate in large numbers facilitating the spread of disease. There is a high incidence of beak and feather disease in this area. There is no cure for this disease - affected birds will lose their feathers and die a slow death.
  • Feral rats may also be attracted to the seed and may move into your house.

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