This pages provides information on bees, livestock, native animals, snakes and crows.
Find information on keeping livestock, starting a bee hive, how to deal with swooping birds and snakes in your home.
Horses, cattle and other stock
Keeping horses, cattle or other livestock can be rewarding but there are some responsibilities that come with ownership. Before buying livestock, it is important you understand their needs and make necessary provisions for the care and welfare of the animals.
When planning to purchase livestock consider if:
- you have adequate space
- the land use is suitable
- the property is adequately fenced
- you have time to care for the animal/s
- you can afford the associated expenses.
Note that not all properties are suitable for keeping livestock. Council has restrictions preventing animals being kept on small lots of land.
The Responsible livestock ownership self-assessment checklist (DOCX, 109.92 KB) has been designed as a guidance tool to assist owners with the minimum requirements involved in keeping livestock on their property, as well as the objectives of animal welfare and ethics. Please refer to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for specific state legislation relevant to the keeping of livestock, and contact Council to determine if any restrictions apply to you.
People sometimes find some native animals during their daily activities. All animals native to Queensland are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and it is an offence to kill a protected animal.
Native animals around the home
If you find a native animal (e.g. a possum or a snake) inside or outside your home you can hire an expert to capture and relocate the animal. Many native animal relocating businesses are listed in the phonebook under 'pest control'.
Some native birds swoop during breeding season. Magpies, for example, start swooping in spring, after laying eggs. Usually the swooping stops once the young birds have left the nest, this normally happens at six weeks of age.
If you encounter a swooping bird, try to avoid the area or if you must travel through the area take measures to protect yourself. For example, use an umbrella when walking in areas where magpies swoop.
In Queensland, bee keeping or apiary is both an industry and popular hobby. Bee keepers have responsibilities under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and in some cases, Council local laws. If you keep a bee hive you must register as a bee keeper with Biosecurity Queensland.
Keeping bees can present a hazard for the public so before starting a hive consider if:
- you understand the needs of bees
- your property is large enough
- the movement of bees could cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
Beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular in towns and cities throughout Queensland. This provides honey for home consumption, enjoyment in watching these social creatures and the opportunity to join in amateur beekeeping groups. However, bees possess a sting and therefore require proper and responsible management so they do not cause a problem for neighbours.
What should I consider before getting bees?
Council local laws are in place to ensure the keeping of bees on your property will not have adverse effects on neighbours and the community. Prior to getting any bees, contact Council to enquire if restrictions apply to you. Common restrictions imposed may include:
- the size of the property the bees will be housed
- the number of hives permitted (if any).
Biosecurity Queensland also has guidelines for the management of beekeeping in Queensland. These include:
- minimum standards to which beekeepers should comply
- community confidence in the safety of beekeeping activities
- a guide for the prevention and resolution of complaints
- the prescription for harmonious cooperation between beekeepers and other land occupiers.
The correct placement of hives is an important consideration for responsible beekeeping. In rural situations, many issues should be considered to minimise impact on neighbouring properties, stock or people. For example - hives adjacent to a property gate or an apiary close to a dwelling.
In urban situations, the hives must be in a quiet area of the allotment and not directly against the neighbouring property unless a solid fence or impenetrable vegetative barrier (no less than two metres high) forms the property boundary. Keep hives as far away from roads, footpaths and parks as possible.
In rural areas, apiaries should not be located within 50 metres of an adjoining neighbour’s dwellings or school bus stops.
Face the entrance of the hives in a direction that bees fly across your property. If this cannot be readily done consider placing barriers. These can be in the form of hedges, shrubs or instant barriers consisting of shade cloth fixed to a trellis two to four metres high. Bees will fly up and over these structures and should not worry neighbours.
On warm to hot nights bees are attracted to lights, particularly fluorescent. Problems can occur if windows are not screened properly, so ensure a solid barrier is erected to prevent light shining on the entrance of the hive.
Water is essential for all forms of life, including bees. As the temperature increases the number of water carriers also increases. Water is used in the hive for cooling via evaporation as well as being a vital part of the bees’ diet. The provision of water needs to be considered when placing hives as a natural source may not be suitable or reliable. If this basic requirement is overlooked or indeed disappears, bees can become a nuisance at alternative water sources (e.g. taps, hose fittings and stock watering points). Bees may die from the lack of available water so water should be provided by the beekeeper.
Disease and pest control
Beekeepers must control pests and diseases to remain viable and not infect other beekeepers’ hives. Further information is available from Apiary Officers. Beekeepers should be cautious about mixing or purchasing hive equipment unless the disease status is known.
Snakes are native animals and are therefore protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to kill, injure or take snakes from the wild.
Living with snakes
Snakes play an important role in maintaining the natural environment and make up a significant number of middle order predators that keep natural ecosystems working.
Snakes are often attracted to yards and houses when food and shelter are unknowingly provided by the human inhabitants. They are also attracted to areas that harbour rodents, chickens, rats, mice and possums.
You can take steps to reduce the attractiveness of your house and yard to snakes by keeping it tidy and well-maintained.
If you keep birds or poultry, ensure your hen-house or aviary is kept clean and hygienic.
Tidy up your yard in the colder months and ensure any timber piles are neatly stacked preventing shelter for rodents and snakes.
Nurseries and greenhouses are warm environments and can also attract snakes. Keep your nursery and greenhouse tidy and elevate trays to ensure visibility.
Can I keep a snake as a pet?
Exotic (non-indigenous) snakes can only be kept by registered zoos and wildlife parks upon approval of a permit issued by Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Native snakes may be kept only upon obtaining a licence issued by the Department of Environment and Science.
Keeping a snake as a pet can be a great source of enjoyment, however strict regulations are in place regarding the breeding, sale and keeping of snakes in Queensland.
If you would like further information on the management and keeping of snakes, please contact the Department of Environment and Science.
You can also find out what snakes live near you.
Crows are native animals and are therefore, protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is illegal to trap them, bait them or disturb their nests whilst they are raising their young.
Living with crows
Crows are highly intelligent animals and adapt quickly to new situations by watching, learning and communicating with each other. People and crows have always coexisted. Crows play an important role in removing dead animals and have even learnt how to kill toads.
Despite any disturbances these native animals may cause, crows play an important role in the ecosystem. A world without crows would be one where rubbish and dead animals would become food for rats, flies and other decomposers to slowly break down.
By managing the things that may attract crows to your property, the less impact they will have to your everyday life and home. Simple steps that can be taken include:
- do not feed crows or leave scraps of food or rubbish lying around
- ensure that garbage bin lids are kept closed, particularly industrial waste bins
- remove water sources and pet food from the backyard
- be aware of the breeding season of crows, and expect more noise for between August and February, while the birds nest and raise their young
- do not try to kill or cause injury to the birds
- do not remove nests or eggs
- do not disturb the birds when there are fledglings in the nest.
How do I get rid of crows?
If the crows are damaging property or affecting health and wellbeing, contact a wildlife remover or Council for advice on how to resolve the issue.
Crows are very difficult to catch, so prevention is always better than the trying to resolve a crow problem. By following the simple steps on how to minimise the impact of crows on your property, they may lose interest and move on.
If you would like further information on management of crows, please contact the Department of Environment and Science.