How to Get Rid of Rabbits
You will generally know when a rabbit is causing damage to your property, because all of the damage will generally be around twenty inches off the ground or below. These creatures, although they can grow quite large, are still quite small compared to other nuisance wildlife, which can inflict similar destruction across your land.
Although rabbits are well known for their burrows, it is common for rabbits to steal the underground dwellings of others, rather than dig their own. This is an indication that you have previously had another wild animal digging tunnels and holes, and is also the biggest reason why you should fill in any holes or tunnels belonging to any wild animal, including those left by gophers, moles, and voles.
Getting Rid of Rabbits – Rabbit Poison
You should not use poison to resolve any nuisance wildlife problem. It’s not effective, and it creates more problems than it solves. There aren’t any registered poisons to kill rabbits, and other poisons designed for other animals should not be used. You would need to use awful lot more of the poison to kill a larger animal, such as a rabbit, and this puts other animals in danger too — animals that you wouldn’t have wanted to poison.
If you also bear in mind that poison is actually meant to attract rats and mice to it, in order to get them to eat it, you could actually create more of a problem. You might kill off a couple of rabbits, but you might encourage a few rodents to move in, in its place.
Getting Rid of Rabbits – Rabbit Repellents
Rabbit repellents rarely work. In fact, many repellents for many wild animals rarely work. You can try the following recommendations, but remember to take them with a pinch of salt. There is a higher chance these will fail than work.
One liquid product that you can buy to repel rabbits is designed to be sprayed over the affected area, and contains oils from plants that the critters would usually avoid in the wild. Just as humans have food preferences — tastes they do and do not like, so do rabbits. These liquid products are meant to both taste and smell bad to the rabbit, and if something smells or tastes bad, you’re not going to want to eat it, or be anywhere near it.
The good thing about these botanical-based rabbit repellents is that they are usually quite natural, do not contain any chemicals or harmful ingredients, are safe for other animals, including pets, and also kids, and is biodegradable too. Working out at about $20-$30 per gallon, depending on the brand you buy, they are inexpensive.
The problem with rabbit repellents such as these liquid ones is that you will need to reapply them many times. If it rains, the liquid could be washed away. If you water the lawn or garden, the repellent could be washed away. The effectiveness of the repellent will decrease over time, whether it rains or not. You will also need to remember that you will need to buy more, more frequently, to cover a larger land area.
Rabbit resistant plants are plants that rabbits are said to resist … hence, the name. These can sometimes work to repel rabbits, but if you have a tasty enough treat in your garden, these repelling plants won’t be enough to keep the hopping pests at bay.
Plants that are generally resistant to rabbits include — marigold, spiderflower, cactus, daffodils, forget-me-not, wild ginger, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, peony, and even some vegetables, such as onion, grape, tomato, and rhubarb.
Getting Rid of Rabbits – Live Trapping
Live trapping very rarely works when you’re talking about rabbits, and this is before you get into the legalities. Even if you were to ignore the regulations and laws surrounding the trapping and release of wild animals for your state, you’d have a hard time finding an appropriate place to release the animal. You’ll need to get permission for that usually, and many land owners won’t be happy about you releasing a nuisance animal onto their land, especially if they have crops or other plants growing too.
All of those reasons aside, there is one very big reasons why you shouldn’t look to trapping and releasing as your first port of call for animal removal — any wild animal removal. The stress that is put on these creatures very often renders them useless. Stress has a very negative impact on the human body, so you must have a little understanding of what stress can do for smaller animals without the capacities to handle the situation that humans have.
A rabbit becomes stressed very easily, and this is even more so the case when you are talking about a rabbit that has found itself locked in a metal cafe, without its siblings or youngsters, unable to escape. Passing predators panic the animal, and some may even be attacked. They will be hungry, thirsty, scared, and probably tired. Even if you attempt to make the animal more comfortable, they will be far too scared to sleep. That means you will be releasing an animal into the wild that has been awake for far longer than they usually would.
You’re also releasing this animal — an already tired and stressed animal — into a brand new territory. The rabbit won’t be able to easily find food, water, or shelter, and if you release the critter at the wrong time, it won’t be able to find its own bearings before the night comes. That’s when the bigger predators come out, including foxes and coyotes.
Live trapping and releasing of rabbits is never as humane as you think it is. You would also need to travel quite some distance to release the rabbit so that it can’t find its way back home again.
Getting Rid of Rabbits – Kill Trapping
Killing a wild rabbit isn’t actually necessary as with the right methods, these creatures are actually quite easy to move along. Body grip traps are one approach to take, designed to work like rodent traps for mice and rats. These are marketed as a somewhat humane approach, with the intention of killing the rabbit immediately, but this isn’t always the case. You will need to be prepared to finish the job, so to speak. This also means that, to keep the kill on the humane side of things, you will need to check the traps multiple times per day. You will also need to source the perfect spot for your traps, taking into consideration other wildlife species that could fall victim to them.
Getting Rid of Rabbits – Exclusion Methods
These are generally considered to be the best approach when it comes to learning how to get rid of rabbits. This is the most humane approach, encouraging the creature to leave of its own accord (even though it doesn’t have a choice), and giving it the opportunity to find a brand new home, somewhere it can’t bother you again.
One of the best exclusion methods for rabbits is a fence. The physical barrier, when placed correctly (and high enough) can be all the protection you need from rabbits, plus a wide range of other wild critters.
When erecting fences, make sure that you’re taking into account the fact that rabbits can dig underground, and often live underground. Any fence that you erect must have an additional underground barrier, and this can be added using mesh wire. As the fence is erected, a trench can be dug, the mesh wiring attached to the bottom of the fence, and falling down into the ground. If you bend the bottom section so that the entire thing sits in an “L” shape, you will even prevent the rabbit from being able to get below the mesh wire level.
Mesh wire can also be used to protect individual areas. Using a wooden framework with the wiring stretched over it, you have a cage that can put a barrier between the animal and it’s desired food. You can also wrap wiring around the base of trees, making sure that you take into account the fact that the animal will be able to reach a little higher when the snow comes. (If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow.)