Pest Species

While most animals that are pests in Australia and New Zealand are non-native species, not all pest animals are introduced. Some native species such as kangaroos and some parrots are considered to cause significant economic or environmental damage. Ironically, many Australian animals have been released in New Zealand and some like the brush-tailed possum have become a serious pest.

Key information for the more common pest species in Australia is found in the PestSmart Toolkit for each species – click on the links below.


pestsmart_fox pestsmart_wilddog
European red fox Wild dogs Feral pigs European rabbit
pestsmart_cat goat
Feral cats Feral goat European carp Tilapia
pestsmart_canetoad pestsmart_mynah
Cane toad Pest birds New and Emerging Monitoring


Links to other species information are to the right of the page. Note that this list covers only a selected list of pest species in Australia and New Zealand, mainly the more common pests. More information on these and other pest species may be found by searching the database.


What is a pest? A pest is an animal that causes significant damage to a valued resource. The pest status of an animal can change with time, between areas or according to the perception of the assessor. What might be one persons pest might be another’s valued resource. Native animals such as kangaroos and possums can be a pest in some situations.

What is a feral animal? Strictly a feral animal is a non-native animal that has escaped from captivity and established a self-sustaining population independent of humans. Hence wild horses, pigs and cats are feral, while foxes and rabbits are not as these latter two animals were deliberately released to establish wild populations. However, the word is now generally applied to any non-native animal that causes serious damage to human interests, and is how the word is used in this web site.

What is an exotic animal? An exotic animal is an animal that is outside its natural range. It may be an animal that has been introduced to Australia or New Zealand from another country, or it may be an animal that has been translocated to another part of Australia or New Zealand. For example kookaburras have been introduced to south-west Western Australia.

Invasive Species (IUCN definition): Invasive species are organisms (usually transported by humans) which successfully establish themselves in, and then overcome, otherwise intact, pre-existing native ecosystems.

Quick Links

Animal Pest Alerts – Canada Goose, Barbary dove, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Common Myna, Ferret, House Crow, Indian Ringneck Parakeet, Red-eared Slider Turtle, Rusa Deer, Pacific Rat

Frequently asked questions

Last updated: June 27, 2010