European Rabbits

Rabbits were introduced to Tasmania in the 1820s. The first feral populations were recorded in 1827 in south-eastern Tasmania.

Rabbits are widespread and common in Tasmania and occur in a variety of habitats, including urban and coastal areas, agricultural areas, natural forests, planted forests, grasslands and disturbed habitats. They prefer areas of low vegetation with well-drained, deep sandy soils where they can build warrens and where refuge exists, such as scrub, blackberry bushes or fallen logs.

Biosecurity Tasmania manage rabbits in Tasmania – generally by releasing calicivirus.

They are aware of the booming population of rabbits in the south but their last limited release of calicivirus missed the Tasman Municipality – potentially because the conditions weren’t suitable. If calicivirus is released while there are young present the young are not affected and can develop an immunity for the rest of their lives. Also, with a lot of feed around (which there has been for the last couple of years) animals are less likely to take the food laced with the virus. Good feed availability also allows rabbits to breed all year round so young can be present at all times.

Here is a link to a page on Biosecurity Tasmania’s website describing the state of their calicivirus release program:  

https://nre.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/invasive-animals/invasive-mammals/european-rabbits/rabbit-haemorrhagic-disease-virus-rabbit-calicivirus-a-biocontrol-for-wild-rabbit-populations/tasmanian-calicivirus-release-sites

If you have noted an upsurge in your local rabbit population and they’re becoming an issue it would be worth calling or emailing Biosecurity Tasmania via the linked webpage so they have a better idea of the situation in your area. Their next normal calicivirus release window would be late summer when the young are older and there is less feed available.