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Lesson Plan

Unit 1 — ARE YOU A PEST?

Activity — The pest project

Setting the scene

Pest animals have major economic, environmental and social impacts in Australia. A number of introduced animals, such as rabbits, foxes, feral pigs and feral cats, have become significant problems for agriculture, the environment and people’s social values. Pest animals cause significant damage to crops and seriously affect Australia’s livestock industries by preying on stock and competing for pasture. Some also cause severe land degradation such as increased soil erosion and stream turbidity. In terms of Australia’s natural environment, competition, habitat destruction and predation by pest animals threatens the survival of Australia’s native plants and animals. Pest animals can also act as reservoirs for disease that affect native wildlife, domestic stock or people.

Source: Draft — Australian Pest Animal Strategy by the Vertebrate Pests Committee, February 2006.

Recommended reading for teachers

To gain further information on this topic prior to teaching it in the classroom is recommended that you examine sections of the following:


By completing a thorough research project, students understand the impact pest animals can have on:

Student outcomes

Students will:


What to do

This activity is ideal for a homework assignment or extended research project using ICT in an appropriate e-learning environment.


Commence the activity by compiling a list of introduced animals in Australia with help from your students.

Prompt answers by highlighting different environments such as rivers, farms and suburban backyards.

To help you with this task
At least 25 mammals, 20 birds and 1 amphibian have established wild populations on mainland Australia.

Some of the more common pests include:

  • rabbit
  • feral horse
  • feral donkey
  • buffalo
  • banteng (a variety of cattle) 
  • feral goat
  • feral camel
  • feral pig
  • fox
  • feral cat
  • cane toad
  • house mouse
  • black rat
  • feral pigeon
  • blackbird
  • sparrow
  • starling
  • carp

Step 1

Once the list is complete, Promote further class discussion by asking the following questions:

  • What is a feral animal?
    Answer: An animal that has escaped domestication and established a wild population.
  • What is a pest animal?
    Answer: An animal that causes significant damage to a valued resource such as a business, the environment or even your home.
  • Which animal is a carnivore (diet includes other animals)
  • Which animal would a farmer not want to see on his property and why?
  • Which animal annoys your family? Explain why

Step 2

Decide what size you would like the poster to be and what type of craft materials can be included in its production.

Step 3

Hand out the pest project activity sheet and discuss the requirements with your students.

Make sure the students don’t all choose the same pest animal from the activity sheet list.

You can add more pest animals to the list if you wish.

Step 4

Once the activity has been completed, students present their poster to the classroom. The posters can then be put on display.

Step 5


Invasive Animals CRC logoInstitute for Applied Ecology logoUniversity of Canberra logoMurray-Darling Basin Authority logoAustralian Government logo
Cane toad