There arguably exist a number of reasons why rabbits are readily considered to be loving animals. As a result, it is not surprising that rabbits represent one of the most popular pets in North America, together with dogs, cats, and freshwater fish. However, when rabbits choose to enter your property uninvited, they can prove to become quite troublesome indeed.
The easiest ways to naturally keep rabbits away are to make use of scents, repellents, motion sensors, fences, dogs, and diversions. Furthermore, by keeping your property clean and free of debris, scrap food and clutter, your area itself will naturally get rid of and keep rabbits away.
But wait a minute, why would you want to get rid of rabbits to begin with?
- They will leave behind a lot of excrement. Although it is nutritious for the garden itself (Rabbit manure: organic waste) it can take quite some time to clean up after them.
- They will eat your vegetables: Basically, rabbits are herbivorous with a big stomach, meaning they can eat a large amount of plants.
- They might even eat your colorful plants
- They will bite and tear blindly, on everything from wood to cloth.
- They leave behind a lot of hair.
- They can make a lot of babies – albeit being endlessly cute!
- Wild rabbits can carry disease.
- Overall, it can become quite time-consuming.
As we of course do not wish to harm any rabbits involved, we present for you seven natural ways to get rid of them fast, together with some tips on how to do so easily.
By Way of Smell: The Use of Scent to Repel Rabbits
As rabbits have a keen sense of smell, it goes without saying that a strong scent may serve as a natural repellent. Indeed, the best way to get rid of a rabbit naturally is by addressing the sensitivity within its nose. However, what to pose against a rabbit’s nose?
Although it is generally believed that strong smells will repel a rabbit, we would like to provide you with some tips on how to do so easily, and effectively. Let’s have a look at some natural repellers, and their smells which can assist us in our endeavour.
Spices and Herbs
What is surely strongly felt within a rabbit’s nose is the sensation, or irritation rather, of certain spices and herbs.
Indeed, rabbits prefer to refrain from coming close to herbs like lavender, basil, mint, and oregano. The same is true for spices such as pepper, chili, and cayenne. This is due to their spiciness, which is just too overpowering for the unlucky bunnies in question and they dislike the scent.
Quick tip: It would be most useful to plant such repellent spices around the vegetables which are more attractive to rabbits, as to create a natural wall of spices and herbs to fend of the rest. However, this is likely not enough to keep them out completely, so make sure to mix strategies going forward.
Finally, some herbs have already been concentrated into a ready-made repellent. This can serve as an easy alternative to planting spices and herbs. For a good product starting point here, you can take a look at I Must Garden Rabbit Repellent: Mint Scent
Staying within the segment of smells, we move on to another scent which can bombard a rabbit’s nose, the use of strong perfumes.
In short, the high doses of concentrated chemicals creates an unpleasant mix of smells for our furry friends. While serving as a repellent to keep the rabbits out, it will furthermore serve to mask the smells which might otherwise attract the animals to begin with.
Besides the high concentration of artificial aroma, perfumes and sprays consisting of herbs such as lavender or mint will serve to do the job.
Quick tip: It can be helpful to apply perfume to a piece of cloth and lay it out around your vegetable patch, or strap cloths soaked in perfume around a fence.
Lastly, it must be noted that in order to make successful use of scents, one has to continuously reapply the scent in question, which can proof to become a tedious task. Of course, sprays will be most effective in the absence of rain, it is still advised to mix strategies going forward.
By Way of Taste: Plant Vegetables That Rabbits Hate
Much like the use of scents, certain tastes can help us further to discourage rabbits from entering our property. For instance:
Although rabbits eating your well curated vegetables is often the problem to begin with, we suggest to plant and grow specific vegetables as to confuse and discourage rabbits going forward. Even though this might not be enough to get rid of the rabbits on your property, it can discourage them from eating your other vegetables, whilst further diversifying your garden. Consequently, they might altogether try to find another patch to nibble on.
Amongst the vegetables which rabbits are just known to dislike, we identified the following:
Artichokes, Avocados, Asparagus, Chives, Onions, Shallots, Peppers, Potatoes, Rhubarb, Tomatoes, Corn.
Caution: Do not use coffee as a deterrent. Although coffee beans are often used as a repellent against deer, rabbits will likely succumb from heart failure. Additionally, we should try to keep our rabbits from feeding on sugars, fats, and salts. Keep it safe, keep it natural!
Quick tip: Make use of rhubarb as a natural fence. Best planted during autumn and spring, rhubarb can grow up to 3 feet. This means it can serve as a natural barrier to fence off the other vegetables.
Overall, we advise you to plant rabbit-resistant vegetables in and around your vegetable patch. This can present an easy way to protect your vegetables whilst repelling the little rabbits to another garden. Your neighbours are warned!
By Way of Motion: Use Motion Sensors
Like most animals in the wild, rabbits have a list of predators to keep a safe distance from. The most common animal that regularly feeds on rabbits in North America is the fox. Besides foxes, rabbits are often preyed upon by coyotes, badgers, owls, hawks, raccoons, snakes, and dogs.
As rabbits have a wide range of predators to keep an eye on, it goes without saying they have a strong sense of awareness, especially when it comes to their keen sense of sigh, smell and sound. Therefore, acting as a predator can startle a rabbit into flight.
A way to act as a predator is to confuse the rabbit by way of motion, and to act as if a predator is near. This can be done by making use of motion sensors.
A motion sensor is a device that’s made to detect a certain movement or activity, which means it can be used to identify when a rabbit, or other animals, are entering or moving around your property. Besides serving as a warning signal, motion sensors can come equipped with various abilities to further deter the rabbits out of your garden.
Motion-activated sprinklers: after detecting movement, the device will start spraying water to welcome our unwanted friends with a cold shower. This might startle the rabbits into flight, whilst alarming ourselves of their presence.
It is advised to make use of a sprinkler which can operate during both day and night. For this, we recommend Orbit’s Top Rated Motion Activated Sprinkler.
Finally, although some motion sensors come equipped with sounds and lights, the use of water will prove to be the most effective technique, while simultaneously being the least harmless for the neighborhood.
By Way of Defense: Setting Up a Fence
Besides sending rabbits into flight, it can be most effective to set up a physical barrier to prevent them from entering your garden to begin with. This can easily be done by building a fence around your entire property, or by fencing of the specific patches which are under attack.
Of course, as rabbits bite and tear on everything they can sink their little teeth in, it goes without saying that an effective fence is a strong fence. Therefore, it is highly suggested to make use of a strong material. This can be a strongly woven piece of wire, galvanised steel. Above anything, avoid the use of plastic, as they will comfortably tear it apart.
Rabbits are also known to be Olympic jumpers – managing to jump over a predator if need be – so it is important to set up a fence which reaches high enough. Make sure to have a fence which is no less than two or three feet high.
Furthermore, rabbits are known diggers, meaning they can easily crawl down underneath a well situated fence. It is therefore most advisable to dig a hole and place the fence a few inches deep in the ground.
Lastly, rabbits might not be able to crawl under, or jump over your fence entirely, they might just be able to reach the top. Therefore, it is best to bend the top of the fence outwards, making it even more difficult for them to jump across.
Quick tip: Chicken wire or poultry netting can serve as the ideal material to use for setting up your fence. For more information, you can take a quick look at the following product: BSTOOL Chicken wire.
By Way of Dogs: Barking Canines!
As rabbits are sensitive to sound, a barking dog will surely work as a safe alarm. In addition, wild dogs are actual predators for rabbits, so they are warned to begin with.
However, the use of a dog to deter a rabbit is not full proof. Although dogs will serve as an alarm, they do not guarantee rabbits will stay away altogether. Besides the fact that some dogs cannot precisely smell the scent of a rabbit, most dogs will sleep at night, and furthermore get tired rather quickly.
That said, it is a worthy mention, as owning a dog is definitely an easy, and loving addition to the range of strategies we have at our disposal.
By Way of Disguise: Diversion Technique
Rabbits have plenty of predators. So will it work to imitate a predator, to create a masked diversion?
Although having a scarecrow in your garden which resembles a predator, such as a coyote or an owl, might further decorate your backyard, it is not entirely clear as to how effective this is when it comes to actually repelling the little rabbits.
What might serve as a better diversion, is to set up a small vegetable patch outside of your protected garden. This can serve as a diversion from your main garden, a way to lure rabbits to a specific space. Doing so, you can help the rabbits in question, while also protecting your property going forward. It’s a win-win situation!
By Way of Cleanliness: Keeping Your Property Clutter-Free
Lastly, in order to prevent having to worry about getting rid of a rabbit or two, it is most advisable to make sure you keep your property clean. Doing so, it will become less likely that a rabbit will want to invite himself into your garden.
- Clean up the twigs, dead leaves, branches, fallen nuts, etc.
- Take out the weeds
- Regularly mow your lawn
- Close holes or burrows
- Seal off shelter
What are they looking for besides food?
Are rabbits nocturnal or active during the day?
Actually, rabbits are genuinely crepuscular, which means they prefer feeding and breeding at dawn and dusk. As a result, rabbits usually sleep both around noon, and in the middle of the night. This means that rabbits see their activity reduced during several intervals. As a result, they are more than eager to find shelter, and settle down their furry feet.
Rabbits like to nestle down and sleep undercover. This can be literally anything, as long as it provides shelter. In addition, it is said that rabbits feed more comfortably when in close proximity to cover, as to fend against predators.
Overall, it is advisable not to make your garden too inviting for rabbits. Therefore, it is best to try to prevent rabbits from finding cover to begin with. This can eliminate their chewing habits altogether.
Interesting fact: Talking about shelters, when thinking of animal shelters we envision either dogs or cats being locked behind a cage. However, there are actually a lot of homeless rabbits in adoption centers across Northern America. For the adoption of a rabbit, feel free to have a look at Petfinder, an online pet adoption agency active across the US.
Not sure whether a rabbit is currently taking shelter in your backyard? In the end, when in doubt or overwhelmed, you can always contact our nationwide network of pest and wildlife control professionals. Get connected with a contractor near you in a matter of seconds, for free.
Bell, W. B. (1918). Cooperative Campaigns for the Control of Ground Squirrels, Prairie-dogs, and Jack Rabbits. US Department of agriculture.
Daly, N. (2017). Here’s why Easter Is bad for bunnies. National Geographic. Issue 12 April.
Isbell, C., & Pavia, A. (2009). Rabbits for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons.
Lebas, F., Coudert, P., Rouvier, R. (1997). The Rabbit: husbandry, health, and production (pp. 45-60). Rome: Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations.
Normando, S., & Gelli, D. (2011). Behavioral complaints and owners’ satisfaction in rabbits, mustelids, and rodents kept as pets. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 6.
Richardson, V. C. (2008). Rabbits: health, husbandry and diseases. John Wiley & Sons.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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