HARMFUL PEST: Opuntia, Bunny Ears or 'blind cacti' is an invasive species which was found in Emu Park and Kinka Beach sparking a call out to residents to be aware of any foreign species around their home, garden, or local area. Picture: Contributed
HARMFUL PEST: Opuntia, Bunny Ears or 'blind cacti' is an invasive species which was found in Emu Park and Kinka Beach sparking a call out to residents to be aware of any foreign species around their home, garden, or local area. Picture: Contributed

Invasive weed species found on Capricorn Coast

An invasive weed species has been found on the Capricorn Coast, sparking a call out to residents to be aware and report any foreign species around their home, garden, or local area.

The invasive species known as Bunny Ears or “blind cacti” is a group of cactuses which was found in Emu Park and Kinka Beach.

The two recent sightings of Bunny Ears have been of potted plants in home gardens.

According to a media statement issued by Livingstone Shire Council, it is understood these types of plants were “purchased through backyard nurseries, bought online, or in these recent cases, passed on unknowingly to friends”.

Portfolio holder of Water, Waste Management and the Environment, Councillor Andrea Friend, said the Bunny Ears were native to Mexico and could cause serious harm to animals.

“On the leaf pads are clusters of hair like prickles called Glochids,” Cr Friend said.

Opuntia, Bunny Ears or 'blind cacti' is an invasive species which was found in Emu Park and Kinka Beach. Picture: Contributed
Opuntia, Bunny Ears or 'blind cacti' is an invasive species which was found in Emu Park and Kinka Beach. Picture: Contributed

“These dislodge if the plant is moved or touched and domestic pets like cats and dogs can rub against them and bring them into your home.

“These disturbed prickles can cause blindness in livestock and pets and if humans come into contact, they can have health impacts.

She said Biosecurity Queensland and Livingstone Shire Council would assist landholders with the safe removal and control to stop its spread.

“We strongly encourage residents to be vigilant and contact council if they are unsure about a certain species,” she said.

Biosecurity Queensland and Livingstone Shire Council will assist landholders with the safe removal and control to stop its spread. Picture: Contributed
Biosecurity Queensland and Livingstone Shire Council will assist landholders with the safe removal and control to stop its spread. Picture: Contributed

“Weeds are able to spread rapidly and have unwanted economic, environmental or social impacts.

“They can be very difficult to identify and may be confused with plants which are not invasive, including native or endangered species.

“Some weeds plants also look very different in their juvenile and mature stages.

“It’s important to correctly identify the weed to ensure control methods are effective and appropriate. Some factors to consider when identifying a weed are where and when the plant grows, its shape, size, leaf form, and flower colour.”

For more information about invasive species, go to www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/biosecurity/invasive-plants-animals/plants-weeds.

You can also call council on 4913 5000, or the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.

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