It’s Easter Bunny Time in Australia…

Except for one thing.

Australia and Australians aren’t best buddies with bunnies. In fact, the little fluffy, furry, foot thumping, floppy eared, warren dwelling mammals are a pain in the fauna in the land down under.

We hate them! It’s illegal to own a rabbit in many Australian states. But why do we have such a problem with them?

Rabbits aren’t native to Australia, but, apparently, in 1859 a Pom (sorry Australia, but he wasn’t anything to do with me) had a dozen breeding pairs of rabbits shipped over from England so he could set them free in his back garden and shoot them! Yes, he wanted to resume his hobby of hunting.

Next, the rabbits started to breed like, well, rabbits, and he obviously wasn’t as good a shot as he could have been. And it turned out that Australia’s climate made the perfect breeding ground for rabbits. Before you could say ‘What’s up doc?’ Australia’s got millions of rabbits.

The problem with that is they eat large volumes of the vegetation causing soil erosion, plant extinction, silt in the waterways, aquatic destruction and this has lead to the death and near extinction of some of Australia’s native species.

Like……..the bilby.

The Easter Bilby.

So just recently, sort of late 60’s and gathering momentum, Australia has been ditching the bunny and replacing it with the bilby. What’s a bilby?

He’s a marsupial and about the only thing he has in common with the rabbit is he’s got big ears…..

Although, and am guessing here, I think the big one was the male bilby and the little one was the female. The big one seemed to only have one thing on his mind, which may be the second thing they have in common with rabbits.

Unfortunately, the female didn’t seem interested which may be why they are almost extinct.

But hopefully, thanks to the good work of people like Emily Chandler, the bilby will survive. Here’s one for the kids….

Happy Easter.

“That’s all folks!”

For an update on rabbits in Australia, please visit…

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • ifeetugga May 12, 2014, 4:31 pm |

    Hello Bob
    Along with me having family over there and my prospects, the fact that Canada allows rabbits to be kept as pets was a reason that I decided to move there. Nevertheless, in the future, I plan to hopefully move to Australia but I can’t imagine leaving my pet bunnies behind. Annoying as they may be at times, to me my little buns are adorable and I’ve gotten attached to them.
    I believe that you can only bring in rabbits into Australia as pets if they originate from New Zealand; is there no exception to that rule (to your knowledge)?Ours are originally from Bangladesh and we do our best to keep them healthy and disease free.
    Forgive me if this sounds annoying, but I want to end by saying that I truly enjoy reading your blog and find it very informative. Please keep up the good work. All the best!

    • BobinOz May 13, 2014, 2:04 pm |

      I’m afraid you are right, the rules state that only rabbits that originate from New Zealand can currently be imported into Australia, the only people who can make an exception to that rule are AQIS, so it may be worth contacting them to ask.

      Not sure it will get you anywhere, but it’s worth a go.

      Good luck, Bob

      • ifeetugga May 13, 2014, 2:51 pm |

        Thanks for the info. Really appreciate that you took the time to answer back. Let’s see what happens…not very optimistic though :(.

  • Sean July 18, 2011, 9:43 am |

    According to Bill Bryson’s excellent book, the bunny population grew from 12 pairs to over one billion by the 1950’s. Then miximitosis was introduced to kill them off, and did a good job killing 99.9% of them. The problem was the 0.1% then re-bred, and now there are over 1 billion bunnies in Oz, resistant to the disease! Talk about survival of the fittest!

    • BobinOz July 19, 2011, 12:25 am |

      If only we could get them to eat cane toads. We’d kill two birds with one stone.

      1 billion sounds a lot to me, I thought there were around 200 to 300 million. But I haven’t counted them.

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