Non-Native Animal Management

How to Safely & Ethically Manage
Non-Native Animals

Non-native animals are not only annoying for us, but can significantly impact our local native wildlife and harm our pets. It is important to actively manage them safely and ethically. Here are some tips on managing the top three non-native animals in the Western suburbs:


Preventative measures include keeping food, pet food, compost and rubbish tightly sealed, burying your compost at least 30cm underground or investing in a rat-proof compost tumbler, sealing any holes into the house, and not leaving your pet’s food out for more than 20 mins.

To control small numbers of rats, try using old-fashioned manual traps or electric traps. These traps only affect the rat, and if a pet or wildlife (e.g. kookaburras, owl, raptor, snake) happens to eat it, they will not be poisoned.

If you are going to use bait, choose baits labelled “Caution”, not labelled “Poison”. While those labelled “Poison” are effective, they pose a huge risk to any animal that may eat the poisoned rat. An animal only needs to eat one “poison”-baited rat before it dies, whereas that same animal would have to eat quite a few “caution”-baited rats to die. “Caution” baits give our pets and predator wildlife a second chance.

Cane Toads

Preventative measures include creating barriers e.g. moulded plastic or metal fencing at least 50cm high, hedges of dense shrubs/native grasses without gaps, rocks and logs. 

To humanely kill cane toads, the RSPCA recommends placing each toad in a container or plastic bag in the fridge at 4°C for 12 hours to anaesthetise them. Ensure there is sufficient air around each toad to cool them. Then, place the toads in the freezer for 24 hours to painlessly kill them. Make sure each toad is dead before disposing of them. Use gloves when handling toads.

Stray and Feral Cats

Domestic, stray and feral cats significantly harm native bird, insect, reptile and small mammal populations. They can also carry and spread diseases, including toxoplasmosis which can be deadly to humans, livestock and wildlife.

The most effective thing we can do to prevent wildlife losses due to cats is to keep our domestic cats inside or secured outdoors, particularly at night. Even if it may not seem like it, cats have a deep instinct to hunt; it is part of who they are. We have to reduce their opportunities.

If you witness someone feeding stray cats, releasing cats, or notice a stray cat in your area, please call Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888.

For more information on managing feral and non-native animals, please visit the Brisbane City Council webpage, “Invasive Plants and Animals”.

Author: Evie Drinnan