Feeding native wildlife

People feed wildlife for many reasons. Many enjoy a positive, close-up experience with our native animals, while others believe they are helping them survive.  However, feeding native wildlife is generally not recommended in Australia.  Some wildlife experts even believe providing supplementary food to wild animals may have harmful side-effects such as:

  • wildlife may start to depend on being fed by humans
  • providing supplementary food could increase the population of some species by stimulating breeding. If the food source stops, a whole population may suffer
  • increasing the population of some animals may harm other species as they aggressively defend an area from other wildlife. This may impact the breeding success and feeding behaviour of other species
  • bread or processed human foods may lead to poor intake of essential nutrients, leading to severe health problems for native animals
  • pest animals and vermin may benefit from extra food sources
  • if animals lose their wariness of humans, they may become a nuisance or show aggressive behaviour towards humans.

Be responsible

If you are wanting to feed your local native wildlife, check the following list of alternative supplementary foods to make sure you are feeding them suitable supplementary food (see below table) and ensure you adhere to these guidelines:

  • never feed dangerous or venomous wildlife that may injure humans - it is against the law and may lead to serious injury or death
  • never feed processed or inappropriate food to native animals
  • wildlife should be encouraged to hunt and forage for native food sources. Only provide a small amount of supplementary food to native animals
  • consider creating a wildlife friendly garden with plenty of water sources to attract a range of animals native to your area
Species Natural food Supplementary food
Possums and gliders
  • native grasses and herbs
  • native fruit and berries
  • flowers, nectar and leaves
  • insects
  • native flowers and foliage
  • soft and hard fruits
  • carrots, corn and spinach
Parrots
  • native seeds
  • native fruit and berries
  • native bird mix
  • chopped fruit and vegetables
  • native blossom and seeds
Honeyeaters and lorikeets
  • nectar, pollen, honeydew and sap
  • native fruits and berries
  • insects
  • chopped, well-ripened soft fruit
  • native flowers
Ducks
  • grasses, herbs and seeds
  • aquatic vegetation
  • aquatic insects
  • chopped lettuce, spinach or sprouts
  • grain that has been crushed and soaked in water
Kookaburras, magpies and crows
  • mice and rats
  • small reptiles, birds, mammals and frogs
  • insects and worms
  • native fruits and berries
  • feeding these birds is not recommended. They are easily habituated to humans and may display nuisance or aggressive behaviour and even attack humans
Macropods (kangaroos, wallabies)
  • native grasses
  • bark
  • green leafy branches
  • native fruit and berries
  • feeding macropods is not recommended. They are easily habituated to humans and may display aggressive behaviour and even attack humans, particularly children

 

14 November 2016