This resource offers three themed units of work.

Whole units can be worked through progressively by the student or alternatively teachers can select individual activities to support specific curriculum requirements.

Unit 1 — Are you a pest?

The word ‘pest’ is used to describe an animal that causes serious damage to a valued resource. Such a pest may be destructive, a nuisance, noisy or simply not wanted.

It is important to know that people decide whether an animal is a pest or not. What is one person’s pest could be another person’s source of income or represent a cherished pet. Such diversity of opinion is one of the reasons that pest control has often had varying levels of success.

This unit of work provides a foundation for students to develop an understanding of how pest animals are able to adapt to a new environment and investigates a variety of public perceptions (all of which are valid) relating to the negative and positive effects of pest animals.

Student outcomes

Students will be able to:


Unit 2 — Pest invaders

European settlement is mostly responsible for the large number of pest animals in Australia today. Beginning last century, many animals were released deliberately for food, game hunting, companionship or to ease feelings of home sickness. Other animals established accidentally, by escaping captivity or were unintentionally brought into the country by international transport.

Today there is still the very real risk of new exotic animals establishing wild populations in Australia (for example, foxes in Tasmania). Risk assessment guidelines for the importing and keeping of exotic animals have been established to reduce the likelihood of an introduced animal becoming a pest.

Pest Invaders provides students with the opportunity to assess the risks involved in importing exotic animals and to discover the impact of a pest animal establishing a wild population in Australia. Students will also be able to apply newly developed pest control knowledge in their own school yard and assess the effectiveness of habitat modification.

Student outcomes

Students will be able to:


Unit 3 — Pest problems

Despite improved understanding and a greater number of effective pest control methods, we have still been unsuccessful in completely eradicating existing pest animals from mainland Australia. Every year it is necessary to destroy hundreds of thousands of foxes, rabbits, mice, carp, cane toads, feral cats, feral goats and feral pigs because of the harm these animals can cause to the environment and industries.

This unit provides students with challenging scenarios using innovative approaches and current technologies to support the understanding of effective pest control outcomes.

Student outcomes

Students will be able to:


Lesson plans


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