Rabbit Removal and Control
How to Get Rid of Rabbits: A rabbit problem usually starts out in a very innocent way, with one rabbit appearing in your yard or garden. A few days later you’ll notice two rabbits outside, and the problem begins to expand from there. Rabbits are a curious lot, cute and shy, avoiding humans but content to openly graze in yards and gardens if they are left alone. Issues with rabbits occur when they decide to dig extensive warrens, or tunnel networks, under homes and buildings. Their numbers then multiply quickly, leaving a large group of rabbits to wreak havoc on the delicate grass of your yard and the vegetables in your garden.
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There are many ways to get rid of rabbits. For home owners in rural areas, animal versus animal control can be very effective. Rabbits are prey animals for the two most common house pets—cats and dogs. Dogs are not as active in rabbit control as are cats. A dog will chase a rabbit but will quickly lose interest in the chase. A cat will actively stalk and then feed on the bunny population, many times killing young rabbits after they are born. The presence of a cat may not keep rabbits out of the yard all the time, but it will discourage them from creating permanent burrows near your home. If you just aren’t an animal personal in general, you might be inclined to try some of the other remedies on the market.
People love to sprinkle coyote urine pellets around their property, based on the claim that it keeps rabbits away. Consider this when you’re using urine pellets, human hair, dog fur, and so on as a rabbit deterrent: Rabbits are prey animals. Every sense they have is on full alert. If the smell a predator, they will also expect to see a predator or hear a predator. Smell alone is not enough to keep a rabbit away. This is also true about mothballs. Mothballs only smell bad and only in a very specific spot. They are easily avoided. There are no registered poisons for rabbits, and for good reason. Whenever you delve into the deliberate poisoning of a wild animal, serious repercussions down the food chain have to be considered.
You can exclude rabbits from your property, or at least from areas on your property you don’t want them getting into. A sturdy fence with no gap along the bottom can be all it takes to protect your garden. If the expense of a solid fence is too high, chicken wire is also effective but the bottom should be angle out where it meets the ground, preventing digging underneath the barrier. Thankfully, rabbits are not as determined as other animals when it comes to food, and they are unlikely to try to chew through a wire fence.
The best method of rabbit control is to trap and remove the creatures if they have become a problem. You can trap with lethal traps or live traps; the choice is yours. Live traps will require you to relocate the rabbit. While this may seem like the kindest method, the truth of the matter is that you will be removing the rabbit from its home, placing it in an area where there is no burrow, no other familiar rabbits, and no trusted food sources. Rabbits are a staple in many wild predator diets, and relocation can be just as lethal as some of the traps on the market. Lethal traps are made to be humane, and offer a means to control rabbits populations that have gotten out of control. These traps work by clamping down on the body with enough force to instantly kill the animal. Of course, the animal must enter the trap in a certain way, and some animals manage to evade the jaws enough to get themselves caught but not killed. If you are going to attempt to lethally trap rabbits, be prepared to quickly and humanely put some of them out of their suffering if the need arises.
RABBIT BIOLOGY & INFORMATION
Rabbits, otherwise known as bunnies or hares, are found in all parts of the world but are most commonly found in North America. Rabbits are native to North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Japan. Rabbits are now found in Australia, but only because they were introduced by travelers. Actually, Australia had an explosion of the rabbit population after they were introduced and are still considered an invasive species that interrupts the natural ecosystems.
Rabbits come in every color such as brown, black, white, reddish-yellow and a combination of any of these colors. Rabbits are usually described as round and fuzzy with big floppy ears and a cotton ball for a tail. Rabbits can be kept as pets, but live just as well in the wild. Rabbits make their homes in many different areas, but prefer areas like grasslands, meadows, forests, deserts and wetlands. However, rabbits do live in suburban and urban areas and tolerates human presence even though they do not trust them.
Rabbits are prey animals meaning that they do not prey on other animals, but other animals prey on them. Some of the natural predators of rabbits include foxes (particularly red foxes), dogs, coyotes, owls, hawks and humans. Because the rabbit has so many natural predators it is most active during the evening hours. Many people who keep rabbits as pet think that there is something wrong with it because they sleep throughout the day and become active at night, but this is just their natural sleep cycle.
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning that they do not eat meat or any other type of smaller animal. Rabbits will mostly feast on grasses, seeds, weeds and flowers, but because their diet is high in fiber and cellulose they must eat their own droppings (the little black pellets) to further digest the nutrients found in their food. This might sound disgusting to us, but its natural and essential to keeping your bunny healthy.
What makes rabbits such a pest is that they reproduce at a very rapid pace with a breeding season that lasts for most of the year (about 9 months). The average gestation period is only 30 days and the average litter has between 5 and 15 kits. However, the kits will be weaned in only 4 weeks, meaning that one female rabbit can easily have up to 800 kits in one season. This is astounding considering that the average lifespan of a rabbit is about 10 years but can live up to 15 years. This is contrary to the general rule of short life, lots of babies and long life, few babies making rabbits unique and a pest.
Traditionally, rabbits have been sought out for many different reasons. Some keep rabbits as loving household pets while others will use them as a cheap alternate food source. Rabbit fur is also an important commodity in our economy as it is soft, beautiful and plentiful. While some may argue that killing animals for fur and food is immoral, the fur and food trade of rabbits controls the population. When rabbit populations are left unchecked, the entire ecosystem will be destroyed.
Rabbits eat all the vegetation on the ground and when you are in an area that does not have much vegetation it can cause a real problem. Rabbits were a large contributor to making the dust bowl in the 1930’s much worse than it should have been and will destroy farmland and gardens. In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, farmers have a legal obligation to rid the rabbit population on their land in an attempt to control the population.