A turf war between two Lake Caroline swan families is putting their cygnets’ lives at risk and distressing residents.

Members of a Caroline Springs Facebook page have discussed the plight of a swan family of five spotted on the nature strips of nearby houses.

“We have a sad situation around Lake Caroline,” a resident wrote.

“The beautiful swan family often seen on the Esplanade, Swan Street and Boathouse Drive has been living on the nature strips of the houses after being forced out of the lake under a territorial fight with another swan family defending all or part of a pond and lake edge.

“Sadly … one of the cygnets was hit and killed by a car and lately there has only been one swan with the group.

“There are foxes, cats and dogs around at night … and the swans are being fed by residents all types of food that aren’t suitable.”

RSPCA Victoria animal welfare policy manager Mhairi Roberts urged residents to steer clear.

“We do not recommend residents attempt to relocate the swans as this may disrupt resting, mating or feeding,” she said.

“As swans are territorial, it can also be dangerous if they are relocated to an unsuitable area. We recommend contacting the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for advice on management of displaced animals.”

Ms Roberts warned residents not to feed the birds with bread.

“Although bread is commonly given to swans, it has little nutritional value and can even be harmful,” she said. “Feeding wild animals can also result in a dependence on humans.”