Other animals and pests

This page provides information if you are interested in keeping other pets or have questions about how pests can be managed.


If you keep poultry in your backyard you must ensure the animals have easy access to food and water, and can move freely around their enclosure. Care should also be taken to protect your chickens from the weather and from disease and injury.

Keeping your chickens enclosed

It is your responsibility to ensure your chickens do not disrupt your neighbours. In order to limit disturbance, you must not locate your chicken enclosure within:

  • the front setback of your property to the street or the side setback to a side street (excluding a lane)
  • a distance of 2 metres from the boundary of any adjoining land in separate ownership or occupation
  • 3 metres from any dwelling on any adjoining land in separate ownership or occupation. 

Bee keeping

You are allowed to keep bees as a hobby. You can keep 2 recreational beehives only.

If you want to keep more than 2 hives you must be registered as an apiarist with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Your hives and the positioning and maintenance of them must be compliant with the Apiary Code of Practice May 2011 and the City of Yarra Planning Scheme.

What to do if you see a snake

If you see a snake do not approach it or attempt to touch or kill it.

Snakes are found throughout Yarra and it is important to remember that they are in their natural habitat.

Snakes found on my property

We will not remove snakes from private property.

  • If you discover a snake on your property you will need to contact a professional snake handler to remove the snake.
  • To discourage snakes from entering your property, keep your grass short and your garden well maintained and free from rubbish.

If you are bitten by a snake, the Victorian Poisons Information Centre advises not to wash the bite as traces of venom can be used to identify the snake and the anti-venom required. Apply a firm bandage to the bitten area, keep still and call 000 for an ambulance.

What should I do if I find an injured possum?

If you find any injured native wildlife please contact Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535.

The more quickly the animal is treated by a vet, the higher the likelihood of its survival and release to its natural habitat.

Wildlife Victoria provides excellent animal management advice and will often ask you to safely transport the injured animal to a vet where circumstances allow.

Possums on my property

Possums may be trapped, but only to remove them from your roof space. They must be released on the same property within 50 metres of the capture site. Licensed wildlife controllers are also authorised to trap possums but they will not relocate them to another site.

Common ringtail possums are fully protected and may not be trapped.

If you would like a possum removed from your property, contact the Department of Environment and Primary Industry Customer Service Centre on 136 186 for a list of licensed possum controllers. More information can be found on the managing wildlife pages of the State Government website.

Swooping birds

Birds swoop to protect their nest, eggs and young. Swooping mainly occurs in spring. Here are some tips on how to deal with swooping birds:

  • Try and avoid the area if possible.
  • Move quickly through the area but do not run or cycle.
  • Make sure you wear a hat or a helmet.
  • Carry an umbrella or stick.
  • Try to travel in a group.
  • Try wearing sunglasses on the back of your head or drawing a pair of eyes on the back of your helmet.

For more information or to report swooping birds go to the swooping birds page of the State Government website or contact 136 186.

Bees and wasps

Bees and wasps are most active during spring and summer.

Honeybees form swarms as part of the establishment of new hives and colonies. Swarms in open areas can easily be caught by people who are experienced at handling bees.

European wasp nests can be found mainly in dark, protective areas including under the house, in ivy, underground and in the walls of weatherboard houses.

All other wasps are native to Melbourne and provide useful environmental services. They are only aggressive when threatened and their nests shouldn’t be disturbed unless they pose an immediate threat to people.

Tips for discouraging wasps nesting in your house and yard:

  • Cover swimming pools, bird baths and ponds.
  • Cover windows and doors with fly screens.
  • Remove all garden clippings, compost, pet food and damaged/rotten fruit from your garden.
  • Water the garden at night time when wasps are least active.

The removal of swarms, hives and nests should always be carried out by a professional.

If the nest or hive is located on your land, you are responsible for its removal or treatment. If the nest or hive is on Yarra City Council land, please contact us on 9205 5555.

Bats and flying foxes

As with other native animals, bats and flying-foxes should not be handled except by authorised carers or officers. More information about protecting and managing native wildlife is available on the managing wildlife pages of the State Government website or contact 136 186.

For more information about managing the risk of disease to humans, visit the Better Health Channel.

Soldier beetles

Soldier beetles have been found in Yarras parks and gardens during the summer months. The beetles are approximately 14mm long and have an elongated, flattened body with a yellow-orange band behind the head. The head and wing case are dark green-black and the body is yellow-orange.

They are often mistaken for bees or wasps due to the colour of their underbelly. They are not harmful so we do not take action to control them. The beetles generally disappear after 1 to 2 days.

Soldier beetles can be beneficial for plants as they attack harmful insects that are attracted to nectar. They are also very effective as a biological control of aphids, grasshopper eggs and caterpillars.