How to Get Rid of Wild Rabbits

Wild rabbits can cause hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in damage to outdoor plants, bushes, trees, gardens, and fences. During especially hard winters when food isn’t readily available, wild rabbits eat whatever they can find, from tree bark to perennials. Wild rabbits will even chew holes in decks, and surprisingly, wild rabbits will damage metal fences to gain several ways in and out of fenced-in yards.

Rabbits are gentle creatures, and those who love and appreciate wildlife wouldn’t want to harm a rabbit, but when property is being damaged there has to be a solution. There are effective remedies for getting rid of rabbits without killing or harming them. Rabbit populations can be effectively controlled with live traps, and rabbits can be deterred from landscaping with guards and nontoxic repellents.

Live Traps

Box traps can be quite expensive, but the trap is worth the price if rabbits have become a problem on your property. Trapping and relocating rabbits is an effective method of controlling the rabbit population in specific locations. Before trapping and releasing rabbits in your area, check with the Department of Natural Resources to see if trapping and releasing is legal without a license in your state of residence.

If trapping is legal where you live, bait box traps with carrots, lettuce, or other raw vegetables. If rabbit droppings are available, lure rabbits to the traps by placing the droppings in the vicinity of the traps. Check the traps often so any rabbits trapped can be safely released as soon as possible. After a rabbit has been trapped, transport the rabbit to a safe location outside of town, such as a wildlife preserve or wildlife park.

Guards

Placing chicken wire around the trunks of trees, bushes, and perennials is an effective method of controlling damage caused by wild rabbits. Rabbits are fantastic diggers, so be sure to sink the wire approximately a half foot beneath the ground. The chicken wire guards should be approximately 3 feet high in order to be effective. If the area in which you live receives substantial snowfall, make sure the top of the wire will be at least 2 feet above the top of a possible snow drift.

Plastic guards can also be used to protect trees, bushes, and perennials from rabbits, and guards of this type can be found at most garden centers. If plastic guards will be kept in place beyond winter months, make sure there is room for expansion so growing trees, plants, and bushes are not damaged.

Flexible corrugated drainage pipes are great for protecting the trunks of small trees, and they are cheaper than guards designed especially for tree trunk protection. Trim flexible corrugated drainage pipes according to sapling height, and cut each tube down one side using a utility knife. The opening will allow for easy installation and removal.

Larger bushes and trees can be protected from hungry rabbits with �½ inch hardware cloth. The cloth provides adequate circulation of air, and it can be cut to any size. The cloth is available at garden centers and hardware stores. Rabbits visiting yards with guards around bushes, trees, and plants will go to other locations where there is easier access to food.

Dogs

A pet dog can be effective in chasing away destructive wild rabbits. Rarely is a pet dog fast enough to catch a wild rabbit, so if you have a dog, encourage him to go after rabbits on your property. Your dog will benefit from the exercise, and rabbits will eventually avoid your property.

Repellents

Fox urine is effective in repelling wild rabbits, and it can be found in most sporting goods stores. Although it is effective, fox urine is quite expensive. If you have a large piece of property, it would probably be more economical to buy rabbit repellent from your local garden center. Rabbit repellent tastes very bad, and therefore causes rabbits to avoid areas that have been sprayed. Rabbit repellents should be reapplied after heavy periods of rain or snow.

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