Protecting wildlife from pets
The Redlands is home to many species of native wildlife, all of which are protected. The most iconic of these is the koala, which is listed as vulnerable in Queensland under state and federal legislation.
As a pet owner, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of your pet attacking local wildlife while keeping them happy at the same time.
Council’s Local Law 2 - Animal Management ensures that animals are kept in a manner that prevents injury to people and other animals.
It's important to take appropriate action to prevent your dog and cat from attacking wildlife. Under the law, the keeper of a roaming dog or cat that attacks wildlife may receive a fine and/or be the subject of an investigation if appropriate action hasn't been taken.
Sadly, dogs are one of the biggest killers of koalas. Sometimes it may be because they are protecting your property or simply wanting to play, but even in play a dog can kill, injure or stress a koala.
What can you do?
- Give your dog its own play area fenced off from the rest of the yard.
- Keep your dog confined or restrained at night when koalas are most active.
- Start a koala watch – check your trees for koalas and inform your neighbours when you see one, and encourage your neighbours to do the same.
- Retain and/or plant trees in your yard.
- Keep your dog on a lead at all times, unless in a dog off-leash area.
What you need to know
- Although koalas are nocturnal, they still move around during the day. They move if they are too hot, too cold, if they are disturbed or to look for an afternoon snack.
- You don’t have to have trees to have koalas in your yard – when we remove trees koalas are forced to travel further on the ground through our yards to find their next food tree.
- Koalas will use trees other than eucalypts. They will often use trees such as mangoes, poincianas and casuarinas for refuge, shelter and as stepping stones to their next food trees.
- Koalas do not regard dogs as predators and will come down to ground even if dogs are around.
- Australia is one of the few countries where dogs are kept outside.
How to keep your dog happy
- Pet behaviourists recommend dog denning to overcome behaviour problems such as barking and separation anxiety.
- Dogs like to have their own space (den) where they feel secure and comfortable. This is why your dog will lie under the table, your bed or chair.
- Your dog can protect you more effectively if you keep it close. If your pet is left to roam it can be easily distracted or baited.
- Take your dog for regular walks.
How to make a den for your dog
- Select or make a small room about two metres by three metres. A laundry, tool room or bathroom is often ideal.
- Put a comfortable bed in the room for the dog. Leaving a radio on provides company and is soothing for your pet.
- Put your dog’s favourite toys in the room and a bone to chew.
- Put the dog’s water bowl in the room and leave it there so that even if the dog is free in the garden it has to go into the room to get a drink.
- Whenever you give the dog food, feed it in the den.
Find out more about dens and dog behaviour from the Pet Health website.
Most cats spend more time hunting at night than the day. This poses a risk to many native animals which are more active at dusk, dawn and during the night.
What can you do?
- Keep your cat indoors at night and confined to your property at all times.
- Cats that go outside should wear a bright or reflective collar with a bell. Cats wearing bells catch significantly less wildlife and two bells are even better.
- Put a small mirror on your cat’s collar. This helps wildlife by reflecting light and warning animals of your cat’s presence.
- Desex your cat. Desexed cats roam less and are therefore less likely to attack wildlife.
What you need to know
Wandering cats are more susceptible to injury and disease such as cat fights, Feline AIDS, dog attacks, car accidents, ticks and unwanted litters.
How to keep your cat happy
Cats can be happily kept inside or contained if you provide the right environment.
- Provide your cat with climbing perches in a sunny spot near a window, where they can watch the outside world.
- A scratching post will keep your cat’s claws trim and your furniture safe.
- Cats love to play. Give your cat a selection of toys to keep it entertained. Encouraging running and jumping will satisfy their natural instincts.
- Plant catnip or cat grass in a container for your cat to play in and nibble on.
- Ensure your cat has plenty of food, water and a clean litter tray.
- Give your cat the best of both worlds by creating an enclosure that allows your cat safe access to the outside.
How to create a cat enclosure
There are a number of ways to create a cat enclosure:
- Adapt an aviary
- Enclose, screen or net a section of your veranda, patio or entertainment area
- Build a cat proof fence
View more information from the RSPCA about:
Contact Redlands Wildlife Rescue on (07) 3833 4031, or call your local veterinarian.
For more information about local wildlife in the Redlands, including wildlife-friendly fencing, visit the Native wildlife section of our website.