Get rid of rabbits? Well, the very idea of finding a way to scare away or even kill such a cute and cuddly animal may sound outright preposterous. However, rabbits can be one hell of a nuisance especially if they find their way to your yard or garden, where they are known to be very destructive.
Getting rid of rabbits involves the employment of several methods. You can discourage the rabbits from getting into your yard by doing a bit of yard work and removing any tall vegetation that may serve as habitat. Proper fencing and landscaping will also help keep the fluffy pest away. Alternatively, you can use commercial repellents such as blood meal fertilizer. If the population gets out of hand, you can alternatively call for professional help.
Rabbits can be hard to control if left unchecked. The reasons for this are a flurry, such as their ability to breed really fast, coupled with their feeding habits. Understanding these factors makes the whole elimination and control process easier and more effective.
Non-lethal Ways of Getting Rid of Rabbits
1. Work on your yard
Rabbits prefer an environment with thick vegetation, where they can easily hide from predators and humans. Thus, you should take time to mow any tall grass within your yard, clear any plant debris such as fallen leaves and vegetables and remove any pile of branches within the yard.
By doing this, you create open spaces which will deter the rabbits.
Additionally, you can locate the rabbit burrows within the yard and fill them up. Most of these burrows will be hidden near porches, near structures and under stairs.
2. Put up a large enough fence
Despite the common myth, rabbits are not fond of jumping. As a matter of fact, they only do this when they feel threatened and thus need to run away from a predator, or they desperately need to access higher ground. Normally, they would only hop from one destination to another.
Thus, a common way of keeping rabbits away from your yard is by erecting a tall fence around it. Make sure the fence is at least 2-3 feet high, since rabbits, on average, can only manage to jump that high.
The situation might be a bit trickier over winter where the rabbits may use the snowbanks as trampolines for easier access.
The fence should be dug deep into the ground, as well. This is because having been denied access at the top, a rabbit may try to burrow its way through the fence.
So, should I fence the yard alone?
Well, not really.
Basically, any form of attraction to the bunny must have a covering over it. For instance, you may have to fence the pond and keep it clear of rabbits which may be attracted to it in search of water.
You may also use chicken wire to secure the rabbit’s burrows and discourage them from using it. A netting over vegetable beds, shrubs and fruit crops may also help keep the fluffy animal away, since they won’t be able to access the food and chew it.
3. Use repellents
Commercial repellents come in handy in scaring wild bunnies away. Some of them come in the form of fertilizer, such as blood meal fertilizer.
The blood meal fertilizer basically contains literal, dried animal blood. For the crops, this fertilizer increases nitrogen and acidic levels in the soil. However, as far as the rabbits are concerned, the smell of animal blood keeps them at bay.
Alternatively, you can opt for more soil-like, crystalline or spray repellents. All of these work the same way, by emitting smells that scare the rabbits away.
4. Use scary electronic devices
In case you prefer a more modern approach, there exist a wide selection of electronic devices you can go for to scare the fluffy animals away. An example is a motion-activated sprinkler that will automatically fire once it detects the movement of a rabbit within your yard.
The most important thing to remember here is to switch up the position of these devices over time so that the rabbits do not habituate themselves with them.
5. The carrot and stick approach
This method involves the provision of an alternative source of food for the rabbits, so as to keep them away from your garden or yard.
Basically, you would install feeders around select areas in your property where the rabbits may go and feed instead of preying at your garden.
Despite this being the most humane approach, you suffer the risk of attracting other unwanted animals in your yard as you seek to keep the rabbits pleased.
6. Use live traps
This is another humane, yet more effective approach to capturing and getting rid of rabbits. With a live trap, all you’ll need is a bait which will attract the bunny to the cage before it locks up and traps it.
Apples, lettuce, Brussel sprouts, and the good old carrot makes for good bait for most live cage traps.
To use them effectively, you should place these live traps in the most infested area of your garden. This may be between garden rows or bushes, where rabbits like to hide the most.
Once the rabbit gets trapped in the cage, you should release it at least a mile away from your home. Most experts prefer that you do this about 3 miles from your home since most rabbits can’t make their way back home past three miles away, thanks to their territorial behavior.
7. Simply call a professional
The most effective, efficient, yet most expensive way of dealing with a rabbit menace is by calling professional rabbit exterminators.
These men have the required training and licensing to deal with a rabbit invasion, even under extreme cases where the population is not manageable and extreme measure is required.
Lethal Ways of Getting Rid of Rabbits
Lethal methods of getting rid of rabbits are highly discouraged both by animal lovers and the state governments as well. As a matter of fact, lethal methods such as poisoning are considered illegal in some parts, with no poison having been registered for use on rabbits.
Shooting rabbits is one of the quickest and dirtiest means of dealing with a rabbit menace. However, some states do not permit the shooting of rabbits, with some requiring you to get a permit before you can shoot or hunt one.
Thus, before using this method, make sure you are within the legislation of your state.
2. Lethal traps
The live cage traps are classified under non-lethal traps that issue no bodily harm to the rabbits. However, on the other hand, snares and Conibear type traps are considered as lethal traps that are available for getting rid of rabbits.
The snare is considered lethal as it may end up choking the rabbit to death, among other possible bodily harms. In most cases, snares are used in rabbit hunting for bush meat.
Why You Should Be Concerned about a Rabbit Invasion
Rabbits have the tendency of occupying territory really quick. And from the reasons below, you’ll understand why getting rid of rabbits is a necessity, in case you find yourself in the middle of a bunny menace:
1. A single rabbit is capable of destroying a dozen trees
That’s right. During winter, most rabbits prefer chewing on fresh bark. They consume this together with the upper layer wood fiber.
These are critical sections of a tree, which, if consumed heavily, can end up killing the whole tree. According to experts from the Lowa State University, a small rabbit invasion can cause reversible effects. However, if the menace is prolonged and sustained, catastrophic damage may be done on the trees.
2. Rabbits can destroy property
Farmers are very well aware of the crop damage rabbits can make on a large farm or even the smaller garden farm.
And apart from feeding on the common crops such as lettuce, broccolis, and even garden berries, some farmers have reported rabbits destroying PVC pipes in their farm, thus affecting the entire irrigation system.
3. They breed very fast
A rabbit’s gestation period goes for between 21 and 30 days. What’s more interesting is that the doe can get pregnant again just hours after giving birth.
On average, the litter size is 3-4 kittens, with the female getting pregnant an average of 6 times a year. If you do the mathematics right, that hits a minimum of 18 kittens a year, from a single rabbit.
Thus, if you suspect you have a fluffy bunny invasion in your yard, it is in your best of interest to start dealing with it as early as possible.
How to Get Rid of Rabbits in Yard
Rabbits are directly attracted to the yard because it offers the most serene habitat and food source for them. Thus to get rid of them, there are a couple of measures you need to take on the yard itself to make it less conducive for the bunny population.
1. Reduce the attraction factors
Rabbits will be attracted to a yard that offers them food, water, and shelter. Thus, you need to limit their access to either of these resources, if you are to keep them at bay.
For starters, mowing the grass in the yard can help reduce the number of hiding spots available for the bunnies. Piles of leaves and fallen branches also attract rabbits which tend to hide behind them as they prey on food or hide from predators.
And since rabbits love burrowing around garden sheds, porches, and stairs, fencing off these areas may help reduce the overall population and menace of these fluffy creatures.
The kind of vegetation you plant in your yard will also go a long way in attracting or repelling rabbits.
Trees such as maple, willow, and oak are known to attract rabbits, thanks to their tastiness. Thus, it will be a good idea not to plant those, or uproot them/fence them in case you have a few in your yard.
2. Fence off the area
This does not necessarily mean your whole compound. Fencing your whole compound just because of a rabbit infestation is an extreme approach to a rather simple problem.
Instead, fence off areas that only serve as attractions to these rabbits. These can include porches and stairs, which serve as burrowing spots, ponds, which provide water, and full-grown trees that can attract the rabbits, such as a maple tree.
A chicken wire fence may be all you need to keep the animal at bay. Basically, you should erect posts 6-foot-long, 6 feet apart and 18 inches into the ground, and wrap them with chicken wire mesh 1 inch or less, with a height of 40 to 48 inches.
3. Scare the rabbits away
An array of options is available for this. You can use the commercial repellents, or take a more modern approach and use electronic devices such as motion-activated sprinklers and ultrasonic rabbit repellents.
Ultrasonic rabbit repellents work by producing noises that the rabbits find irritating, thus driving the bunnies away.
Decoy owls and snakes are also a great way of scaring rabbits away since they won’t be able to decipher the real predator from the fake mockups.
4. Physically remove the rabbits using live traps
If you are dealing with a population of about 1 or 2 rogue rabbits, then dealing with them using live traps can be an easier and more effective solution. Once the trap gets hold of the rogue bunny, take it about 3 miles away and release it.
Just make sure you check with your local authority, to ensure that trapping and releasing of the wild animal is legal in the area.
How Do I Get Rid of Rabbits Under My Shed?
Why would a rabbit go under my shed?
One main reason – nesting. Most rabbits will burrow their way under a shed so as to nest, procreate, and give birth to babies.
What’s worse is, in case the rabbit dies under the shed, getting the carcass out may be a big problem. Thus, you need to figure out a way of keeping the bunnies out of your shed – and that is by essentially making the shed itself, bunny proof.
1. Remove the rabbit’s nest when it’s away
When the rabbit’s away foraging, take the time and remove its nest. This will force the rabbit to look for a new place to nest its babies during the season.
A park or wooded area would be a nice alternative where the bunny and its children would survive.
2. Trap the rabbit using a live trap
A live cage trap would work well in capturing a rabbit hidden under the shed. Lethal traps are not advised since, for a nesting doe, her survival would be paramount for her kids and their survival. These traps should be placed away from the shed and timed when the rabbits are back from foraging.
Large, plastic, owls and snakes would also help in scaring the rabbits away. Once you’ve trapped the rabbit, make sure you release it in a wooded area or park, in a safe location.
3. If all fail, get a professional
In case all the methods above fail, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist would be the last resort to get the bunny menace under the shed dealt with. These specialists are readily available locally and can be found via a phone book search.
4. Repelling the rabbits away
In case you never want the rabbits to ever come visiting again, then some DIY tricks can come in handy in keeping the fluffy menace at bay.
Basically, all you’ll need to do is dig a trench, 6 to 8 inches wide and 12 inches deep, around the shed. Then, you’d place galvanized hex netting into the trench, all round the shed. You should keep this netting taut by stapling it to the shed’s walls.
Finally, you should cover the netting with the earth from the dug trench, and apply any other commercial repellent, as instructed by the manufacturer.
The goal of this exercise is to prevent rabbits from burrowing into your shed. Thus, it is imperative that you keep checking the status of the netting, looking out for holes or any other sign that a rabbit might have burrowed through.
What Smell Do Rabbits Hate?
Rabbits are inherently distasteful of the smell of animal blood and rotten meat. These, a matter of fact, are the most common smells in most commercial rabbit repellents on the market.
Other commercial repellents would use a predator’s musk or urine.
Well, to survive, most rabbits adopted a highly advanced sense of smell so as to not only detect food from far away but also predators. That’s why other commercial repellents would use the predator’s urine or musk to scare the bunny away.
Other known, toxic smells to the Easter bunny are vinegar, crushed red peppers, garlic, and ammonia.
Is It Legal to Kill Rabbits in Your Yard?
This entirely depends on the laws of the state that you live in. For instance, in some states such as California, shooting a rabbit in your yard is illegal.
The reason why this practice is heavily regulated is that it can potentially spread disease.
In most cases, if you want to hunt or kill a rabbit, you need to get a license from your local wildlife authority. And in case the property is not yours, then you’d also need a license from the private property owner, allowing you to hunt and kill the bunny.
However, in some rural areas, you may be permitted to shoot rabbits at dusk or dawn, when they are most active. However, this does not cover the entirety of the species, since some rabbits are still protected against indiscriminate shooting and hunting.
In case you are a farmer, other areas permit you to sprinkle toxic rabbit bait in your lawn. This should only be done for agricultural purposes. Caution should also be taken, to ensure that pets or small children do not accidentally get poisoned by the bait.
Can Rabbits Eat Cucumber?
Yes. But they should be given in small amounts.
Cucumbers fit well as a mildly healthy and fun snack for rabbits. However, they do not and should not consume much of it as it can lead to loss of appetite and a runny stool, otherwise known as rabbit diarrhea.
Reason for this is, despite being a fun snack, cucumbers lack the essential nutrients needed to keep a rabbit healthy.
A runny stool will mostly arise out of the cucumber’s high water content – which is about 96% of the vegetable.
In addition, since rabbits are adopted to eating hay which ferments way more slowly than cucumbers, cucumbers may allow bad bacteria to outnumber the good bacteria in the rabbit’s stomach. This can lead to the buildup of gases that make the rabbit uncomfortable.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes Under Sheds?
Yes. Rabbits dig holes under sheds so as to nest in there and procreate. As a matter of fact, the shed is one of the commonest areas to find a rabbit’s burrow.
What Attracts Rabbits to Traps?
Rabbits are basically lured to traps, using bait. The bait, in this case, is basically any meal that the rabbit would savor.
The most common and most effective baits you can try on a rabbit trap are lettuce, Brussel sprouts, carrots, and apples.
In case you don’t want to attract the animal using actual food, spraying inside the trap with apple cider also does the job.
An unusual bait some rabbit trappers recommend is cheesy biscuits. These can be crumbled up and placed inside the trap to lure the rabbit in.
More importantly, where you place the trap will dictate whether the bait will work or not. In most cases, the trap should be placed in the path with the heaviest rabbit traffic, with the cage itself being camouflaged by leaves and vegetation so that it appears to be a natural part of the environment.
Do Rabbits Like Peanut Butter?
No. As a matter of fact, peanut butter is among the list of foods that you should never feed a rabbit.
The reason for this is that being very fatty, and essentially made out of a legume, peanut butter slows down the digestion of food in rabbits. The end result in most cases won’t be fatal, but a stomach ache would definitely suffice.
In general, all types of nuts, such as walnuts should not be included in a rabbit’s diet. They usually cause indigestion, discomfort, and lack of appetite to the bunny.
Do Rabbits Bite?
Yes, they do. And them doing that may be indicative of a number of things.
In most cases, a rabbit biting you may just be the rabbit trying to get your attention. For the younger ones especially, a playful nip may be common once in a while. An older rabbit may offer a softer bite, just to prompt you to scratch it behind the ears.
In other cases, a bite may be due to nervousness or something territorial. The hardest biting is usually territorial and is triggered when the rabbit feels its territory has been threatened by another.
That is why most rabbit pet owners prefer keeping their rabbits in separate rooms, not just separate cages.
Thankfully, this behavior can be managed.
For the softer, attention-seeking bites, reacting loudly and getting your attention off the rabbit can help train it that you do not like its biting. Thus, it will avoid such behavior.
For the more aggressive territorial bites, spaying and neutering the rabbits once they are four months old can help deal with this aggressive territorial behavior.
But in case you happen to have an already aggressive one, taking things slowly with it can help calm it down and manage its behavior.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare