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Safekeeping gardens and landscapes by keeping wild rabbits at bay

For many homeowners, wild rabbits can quickly take a toll on any size yard and can easily climb into raised beds and nibble away at plants in containers.
For many homeowners, wild rabbits can quickly take a toll on any size yard and can easily climb into raised beds and nibble away at plants in containers.

Homeowners may never see them. They sneak in silently once the sun goes down to ravage delicate gardens and landscapes and, if they are seen, they will run to safety so they can dine in the yard when people are not around.

For many homeowners, wild rabbits can quickly take a toll on any size yard and can easily climb into raised beds and nibble away at plants in containers. They have a big appetite and gardens and landscapes are like a tempting, bottomless salad bar. In many cases, where there is one, there is more, as the gestation period for a rabbit averages just 30 days.

To protect the yard from rabbits, their presence has to be identified first. However, because they often come out at dawn and sunset, a homeowner may rarely see them. According to animal repellent experts at Bobbex, the following are the top signs that rabbits are present on a property:

  • Plant damage low to the ground, often a few inches above the soil;
  • A clean, 45-degree angled cut on the end of stems and leaves;
  • Woody plants debarked up to 406 mm (16 in.) from the ground;
  • Piles of rabbit droppings (dark pea-sized pellets) are present; and
  • Wild rabbit tracks. These animals have five toes on their front feet and four toes on their much longer hind feet.

If a homeowner catches a glimpse of a wild rabbit on their property, he/she may be able to identify the species by the following characteristics:

  • Cottontails are common throughout North America, identified by their short tail that resembles a tuft of cotton.
  • Snowshoes are typically found in rocky, mountainous terrain and are identified by their large feet with white fur during winter and rusty brown fur during warmer months.
  • The speedy jackrabbit is found in the western U.S., and is known for its incredibly long ears and powerful hind legs.

After identifying the presence of wild rabbits, there are a few ways to safely repel them before any damage is done.

1. Build and bury barriers
Fencing can be an effective way to keep rabbits at bay. The fence only needs to be 1 m (3 ft) tall as they are unlikely to jump over it. However, the fence will need to be buried underground since rabbits can burrow up to 305 mm (12 in.) below the surface.

2. Repel and remove temptation
Use an all-natural, environmentally friendly repellent that is proven effective at protecting ornamental plantings from small animals, such as rabbits. Useable in any weather, it will not burn plants or wash off. It can also be used as a bulb dip to deter underground damage or it can be sprayed at the mouth of burrows to prevent animals from re-entering. It is safe for humans, pets, birds, and aquatic life.

3. Remove the creature’s comforts
Many homeowners are surprised to find rabbits have made a home under stairs or in a shed. To prevent rabbits from nesting and raising families on the property, remove brush and other debris that could provide them easy shelter and spray a repellent in those areas to maintain rabbit-free hiding places.

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