Rabbits are super cute and cuddly lagomorphs that freely hop around, and enjoy their solitude, or the company of other rabbits. But they can also cause several significant problems to your home and garden.
The way to trap a rabbit in your yard is to:
- Decide on your trap style
- Designate a trap location
- Bait your trap well
- Completely setup your trap
- Once the rabbit is caught, either relocate it, (check your state laws to see if it’s legal) or call Animal Control for pick up and transportation from your property.
Whether it’s on a personal level, or a nationwide agriculture cause, knowing how to trap a rabbit is vital to producing quality crops and land for both rabbits and humans to thrive.
How Do I Trap Rabbits In My Yard?
Here’s how you do it:
- Pick your trap: the purpose of the trap is to immobilize the rabbit from hopping into unwarranted areas of your home. There are three types of traps to choose from.
- Snare: a wired or plastic wire that wraps around the rabbits neck or body
- Body Grip: a flat cage that snaps close when the trigger is stepped on. As the name suggests, it grips the body until it crushes its targets.
- Live Traps: cages with simple trigger that only closes the door of the cage, encasing the animal. It can be either one-door or two-door styled.
- Pick your trap location(s): Rabbits travel along perimeters or transitional areas where there is plenty of shrubs and bushes to cover themselves. Best places are:
- Tree lines
- Wood piles
- Natural debris piles
- Tall grass
- Select and position the bait: The type of bait, and placement of it, is extremely important for successfully luring the rabbit into the cage.
- Choose your bait (either fruits, vegetables or plants)
- Place the bait near the trap trigger; position the bait to where the rabbit will be fully enclosed by the time it reaches it.
- Set the trap
- Follow the specific cage instructions for the trap you chose
- Remember to set the trap along covered areas of your yard, or a couple of feet away from their warren (rabbit hole)
- Camouflage the cage with leaves and sticks
- Check the trap often
- Check about every couple of hours for successful rabbit capture.
- Relocate the rabbit
- If your law permits, place the rabbit at least five miles away from your home
- Best place is a woodland area with plenty of food and protective coverage
- After release, disinfect the cage to reduce bacteria and viruses, as well as various scents
- Get rid of attractants
- Mow your yard
- Rake up leaves
- Remove old vegetation from your property
- Clear out debris and random coverages
- Completely fill in all the rabbit dens with dirt
Bonus! You can easily create a “pit trap.” A simple and natural way of capture a rabbit!
- Locate the areas of rabbit activity (i.e. half-eaten food, droppings, or dens)
- Dig a narrow hole a couple of feet away from the entrance of their den. Make the hole about four feet deep so that the rabbit cannot jump out.
- Cover the top of the trap with foliage (plant leaves) and sticks to camouflage it into the natural environment.
- Place bait in the center of the pit trap. Fruits and vegetables will serve you well
- Great! You’ve caught the rabbit! Now scoop it out and place it in a cage to easily transport it.
- Refill the pit hole with dirt.
A pit trap is my favorite option because it’s cost-effective and easy to understand and execute!
Rabbit Trapping Tips
Tapping a rabbit is fairly simple because of their natural nature to be nice and avoidant. When attempting to cage or capture a rabbit, it is best to take this advice into consideration:
- Best rabbit bait to use is:
- Fruit: apples, apple cider, peeled bananas, peeled oranges, or berries
- Vegetables: brussel sprouts, lettuce, corn, cabbage (leafy vegetables are a primary source of food for rabbits.)
- During the winter, only use dried fruits so that they don’t freeze, such as dried apples or dried apricots.
- The metal from the cage can create a glare, which could deter the rabbit from it, so cover it up with leaves, sticks, and other natural debris. Be sure that it doesn’t block the mechanism button or the cage door.
- Place the trap on a leveled surface for stability. Place something heavy like a brick or tree log on top of the cage to prevent it from being tipped over by the elements, or another animal.
- Wear heavy-duty cloves to reduce the transfer of scents and bodily fluids like saliva or blood, that could transfer diseases.
- Do not keep the trapped rabbit as a pet (no matter how cute it looks!) Since it is a wild animal, it could carry a disease or two.
- Both the snare and body grip traps are lethal; meaning that they are meant to kill the rabbit. If you want to keep the rabbit alive, then a live trap is your best choice.
- Approach the trap peacefully to keep the animal calm, and for a smooth riddance of your rabbit problem.
- Use a repellent to keep away future rabbits.
How Do You Catch Rabbits In Your Backyard?
As aformentionly stated, the best ways to capture a wild rabbit that’s in your backyard is with a snare, a live cage, or a body grip trap. These three methods have shown to be so successful that even the professionals use them.
There are also two other methods that can be used to catch a rabbit that is causing a mess in your yard: catching it by hand, or poisoning it.
Capturing a live rabbit by hand is an exciting endeavor, and a real workout!
Rabbits are extremely agile and fast, and can turn corners so fast, it’ll make a cheetah jealous! There are two manners in which to capture a rabbit by hand: lie still and grab it, or chase it.
- Laying Still
By laying still, the rabbit will have a lesser chance of determining you as a predator, and will think of you as a mound, or a natural part of the terrain. As the animals comes within your reach, be lighting quick and grab the rabbit! That’s it!
If you are successful in this endeavor, the rabbit will try to bite you, so make sure that you are wearing protective gear – like heavy-duty gloves and a long-sleeve shirt – to shield yourself from their jabs, and any potential diseases.
- Chase It
Once you locate the entrance or exit of the rabbits’ warren, stand a couple of feet away from the it – out of sight- and simply be on the lookout. When it fully emerges out of it’s hole, slowly creep behind it and try to grab it.
Rabbits have amazing hearing, so you will get caught, which is where chasing it comes into play.
Run, run, run for as long as you can. Rabbits have a high stamina because of their diet and metabolism, and they have strong legs from hoping all day. They are extremely cardio fit, so if you want to catch it, you’ll be running around for about 40-45 minutes before the rabbit gets tired.
Once the rabbit if thoroughly tired, calmly pick it up, and place it in a cage. Call your local Animal Control entity for legal transportation and proper relocation.
The idea behind this is to knock out the rabbit for a safe and easy capture; then it wakes up, it’s on its merry way.
But that is not the case. The poisonous options are also considered a “lethal trap,” and will ultimately kill the rabbit.
It is not recommended to use poison to capture a rabbit because it’s unnecessary, and the poison can also affect you! By using preventative measures, or a live trap, you will effectively trap that rabbit without the result of death.
But if you are still interested in this option, check out these common poisons for rabbits that I found
- Plants: ivy, rhubarb, or foxglove (best option, but is also cause negative effects to humans too.)
- Any type of rodent poison
- Compound 1080: typically known as “Pindone;” an anticoagulant liquid that causes life-threatening internal bleeding.
- It’s so strong that it’s only regulated to government officials and persons with an Agricultural Spray Permit.
- This poison is not recommended for rabbits because any other animal (like your pet) can be lethally affected by it too, if they ingest it.
- It takes six days-to-two weeks for this poison to take effect.
Are Rabbits Harmful To Humans?
It depends on whether they are wild rabbits or captive rabbits. Both brands of rabbits have the same characteristics and traits, however, they differ in severity.
Wild rabbits can be very harmful to humans for several reasons:
- They have not, and are not used to being handled by humans, and view you as a serious threat to their livelihood. So they will defend themselves against you by kicking you, scratching you, biting you, or attempting to jump out of your arms towards freedom.
- Wild rabbits may also carry diseases. They eat their own droppings, as well as the droppings of other animals, if it has the scent of fruit and vegetables. These excrement may have bacteria or a virus in them that could get transferred to you.
Now if we’re talking about pet rabbits, or rabbits in captivity, the story changes. Rabbits raised in captivity are trained to be nice, and are highly receptive to humans. These animals have received vaccines from birth, and should be safe to interact with.
A leading expert on this topic, Rabbit Welfare & Association Fund says “pet rabbits are brilliant, and for the most part do not pose a significant disease hazard to humans.”
They also say that having a pet rabbit is not one hundred percent risk-free.
The biggest threat to humans that is posed by captive rabbits is allergies. The loose fur and natural debris that they bring in from outside can disturb sinuses, causing cold-like symptoms like red eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, or coughing.
Although a significant “health hazard,” people will still want rabbits as pets, so be sure to take precautions to reduce allergen exposure in your home.
Can A Rabbit Bite Be Dangerous?
A bite has the potential to be dangerous if it’s from a free-range rabbit; however, in the average case of the captives, no, rabbit bites are not dangerous to humans.
Although not lethal, rabbits do bite, and it can be triggered by various reasons like emotional distress, longing for attention, being territorial, or they’re scared.
Yes, rabbits are emotional creatures, just like you and me. They may be frustrated because their hungry, or you could simply be hurting it somehow. The point is, if the rabbit is upset, it will nip at you as a sign that something is wrong.
Emotional biting can be reduced, or even eradicated, by soothing the rabbit, or giving it space. Try petting the rabbit (if it’s happy, it will begin to purr like a cat.) If that doesn’t work, give it space to do what it wants to do, without your physical intrusion.
Just like a human will tap you to get you attention, a rabbit will nip you to get yours. The smaller the rabbit, the smaller the nip. It is not meant to harm you, and rarely draws blood, but you will feel it.
You can cure this type of biting by squealing or letting out a yelp as a sign that the rabbit hurt you. Remember, they are emotional beings, and can pick up on how you feel. Condition the rabbit to not bite you by showing them that they hurt you, and they will find other means of getting your attention.
When it comes to their personal space, rabbits can turn aggressive if it is invaded too much or for too long. This nipping is a symbol from the rabbit telling you “leave me alone right now.” Both male and female rabbits have this assertive tendency.
The remedy for this is quite invasive, as it requires spaying or neutering your rabbit. Both are forms of removing the sex organs (uterus or testicles) of the rabbit. Spaying refers to females, while neutering is the equivalent for males.
Biting out of fear can be triggered by anything: your physical presence, the way that you’re handling them, a predator that they see, or simply your hat! The biting signifies that something is creating distress for the rabbit.
Fix this issue by finding out what the rabbit is afraid of, and remove it from their environment. Afterwards, give gentle attention to the rabbit so that it feels safe and secure.
For the most part, these biting remedies are for captive rabbits. However, wild rabbits are not this easy to pacify, and are a much greater danger to humans because they have a higher chance of carrying a disease or two.
Can You Get Sick From A Rabbit Bite?
No, rabbit nipping and biting has a low regard as a health hazard for people, therefore you will not get sick from a bite. Nipping is a typical form of communication for rabbits, while biting is an intentional mean for eating, or defending itself.
Most rabbit nipping is a tiny scratch to the surface of your skin to simply get your attention. Biting, on the other hand, will be much stronger, and can pierce the skin and cause blood exposure.
This is what scares us the most: the possible exposure to a disease because of a bite, not the bite itself. When trapping your rabbit friend, keep in mind that their biting is a form of defense and has the intention to hurt you, only so you’ll let it go.
Can You Get Diseases From Rabbits?
Yes, you can diseases from rabbits. Most household pets are recommended to receive vaccinations, and have less of a chance of spreading a disease than a wild rabbit. But free-range rabbits may transfer a disease if it pierces your skin with its sharp bite.
Despite their attractive looks, you can receive numerous diseases from rabbits. The most prevalent rabbit diseases that are spread from rabbit to people include:
- Pasteurella multocida: a bacterium that causes localized inflammation and abscess, that can lead to infection.
- Ringworm: a fungal infection transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected animal.
- Cheyletiella parasitovorax: tiny “skin mites” that hop from the rabbit to your skin through the direct handling of the infected animal, and causes dermatitis (skin inflammation)
- Cryptosporidiosis: an intestinal infection that is acquired by handling or ingesting the fecal matter the rabbit. Fittingly, it causes diarrhea in the rabbit, as well as the handler.
- Tularemia: also called “rabbit fever;” it spreads via direct contact with the rabbit, or a skin-piercing bite from the animal. This disease is highly contagious, and possibly fatal if not taken care of as soon as possible.
- Myxomatosis: transferred by a bite that comes into contact with blood and cause potentially fatal inflammation.
Thankfully, most of these bactriums and diseases can be cured with a range of antibiotics. So if you are bitten by a rabbit while catching it, after it’s safely relocated off of your property, seek immediate medical care.
How Do You Keep Rabbits Away Naturally
I found several organic deterrents for rabbits that you can feel good about using to keep them away. Natural rabbit repellents include plants or fragrances that are super smelly, or super spicy, or placing a fence around what you want protected.
These options are safe for the rabbit, but more importantly, it’s safe for your garden, pets, and yourself! Let’s see what we have here.
These plants carry a pungent scent that is too strong for the rabbit to handle, or are considered poisonous to them; either way, they’re all natural! Here are some plants and vegetation that rabbits hate:
- Herbs: basil, parsley, mint, tarragon, oregano
- Vegetables: leeks, asparagus, rhubarb, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, onions
- Flowers: vincas, cleomes, wax begonias, geraniums
Try planting these delicious repellents next to your garden, and day-by-day, you should see less rabbit activity in those areas.
General consensus shows that fencing is the most effective choice for keeping rabbits out of your yard or garden. Because of the physical challenges that come with trying to outsmart a fence, the rabbit will soon give up, and aim for an easier target.
- Set up the fence to completely surround your designated area(s)
- Use metal posts to anchor into the ground
- Use metal wire to wrap around the post
- Hardware cloth measured at ½ inch is the prime metal to use
- Wire mesh (chicken wire) is too thin, and can be chewed through
- Wrap the wire around the post, and use metal clips to make sure it’s secure
The fence should stand two-to-three feet high, depending on the type of rabbit you have and how high it can jump.
What Smells Do Rabbits Hate?
Spices are a major scent that rabbits hate because it causes a stinging sensation, and creates distress to their noses, which causes allergy-like symptoms. Use these spices to deter the rabbit from your property:
- Red pepper
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Bone meal
Another potent choice for you to use is ammonia…ammonia will keep any animal away!
The best way to make these smells work is to create mixtures, and spray them on your flowers, crops, or soil. Rabbits can smell from meters away, and will definitely take notice of the powerful stinch, and run away from it.
Do Marigolds Keep Rabbits Away?
There seems to be a constant debate of whether marigolds repel rabbits. On one hand, they are aromatic, and have a certain smell that is oddly attractive. On the other hand, that same scent can be described as pungent and musky.
In some cases, a typical rabbit may not like the smell of marigold plants. They may turn away from them and tread off to sweeter scents. However, if the rabbit that you are trying to trap is experienced, marigolds may not have much of an effect.
A study conducted by the Iowa State University stated “Thus a planting of certain flowers like marigolds may not be a successful rabbit control. In fact, rabbits have been known to dine on marigold flowers.”
I found out that the determining factor of whether marigolds will works is knowing which region the rabbit originates from. Unfortunately, most of our North American rabbits are not deterred by this twisted, yet tantalizing plant.
So with a majority rule, it’s safe to say that marigolds do not successfully keep rabbits away.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare