Birds, turtles and flying-foxes are just some of the wildlife you'll find in the Botanic Gardens and Botanic Park.

To our feathered, furred and shelled friends, the gardens are home. They provide a natural haven and a plentiful supply of natural food sources.

When you visit the gardens you will see signs dotted about the place asking that you do not feed the wildlife. This is for several reasons:

Animal welfare

The welfare of animals and birds that are attracted to, and become dependent on, artificial food sources is of real concern.

Food fed to wildlife (like bread) almost always has low nutritional value and can be harmful to the animal eating it.

Feeing wild animals may also prevent their young from learning how to forage, making them reliant on humans to survive.

Patron welfare

Birds will often become aggressive and persistent in their attempts to snatch food. This increases the risk of accidental injury, especially to small children.

Food intended for swans and ducks also provides a supply for the other bird species (like seagulls and pigeons) that loiter around the eating areas in the gardens. This encourages these birds to wait for food handouts, which is a nuisance, and sometimes a danger, to diners.

Pests and vermin

Animal feeding attracts pests and vermin such as rats and can make wildlife vulnerable to predators. It also increases the level of animal droppings, especially around popular areas.

We appreciate that feeding ducks has long been a popular activity for visitors. But as with the Sydney and Melbourne Botanic Gardens, we've put this measure in place to improve the overall experience for visitors and, ultimately, to protect the wildlife that frequents the Botanic Gardens of South Australia.

Did you know?

European red foxes are commonly found across Adelaide, from our beaches to our city and hills. They enjoy the ample food and shelter in our city and suburbs, with a large population living along the River Torrens.

These fluffy-tailed creatures were introduced to Australia in the 1870s for recreational hunting, and while they might be cute to some, they are unfortunately a declared pest under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019. This is because foxes prey on our native animals and birds, as well as causing damage to buildings with their underground dens.

Foxes live for approximately one to three years in urban environments and can sometimes carry diseases such as mange. In our three botanic gardens, we have an active fox management program and work with ZoosSA on this. Whilst we do undertake activities to deter foxes from entering the gardens, there are waterways and other entrance points for the foxes to sneak in. When one fox passes away, it won’t be long before another claims the now vacant territory and makes it their own.

Our horticultural staff are out in the gardens every day and know what foxes are around any one time, including those with mange. If you see one, please keep your distance and do not approach or try to feed the fox. If you would like to find out more, visit this Green Adelaide webpage.

Grey-headed flying-foxes

Grey-headed flying-foxes have made Botanic Park home since 2010 and they play a vital role in the ecosystem.

They are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972because they are vulnerable to extinction.

Heat waves cause stress to bats and their pups, and can cause them to fall to the ground. Visitors to Botanic Park are asked not to handle any bats, including the Grey-headed flying-foxes.

If you come across a bat that appears to be dead, injured or in distress, please contact Fauna Rescue’s 24-hour bat phone: 08 8486 1139.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium staff help reduce heat stress by cooling the roosting area with sprinklers. We may also put exclusion zones in place to protect both the flying foxes and our human visitors. Please use any detours in place to help reduce additional stress to these vulnerable animals.

Find out more about the Grey-headed flying foxes from Green Adelaide.

Debunk 4 myths about Adelaide's Grey headed flying foxes here.

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