Rabbits are adorable, but they can also be invasive and destructive, especially if you have a garden or a yard filled with beautiful plants. They may burrow nearby or in your property, and they will eat your plants and ruin the aesthetic of your garden.
In this guide, you’ll find quick and easy solutions on how to repel rabbits from your yard. However, if you’re looking for the best rabbit repellent, you should know that there is no one way to get rid of these animals.
Depending on the kind of plants that you have and the severity of the infestation, you might need to try a couple of solutions before you find the one that works best for your situation.
Anyway, before you learn about rabbit repellents, here’s everything that you need to know about wild rabbits.
- 1 The Common Rabbit
- 2 Understanding Rabbits
- 3 How to Get Rid of Rabbits
- 3.1 Fences and Covers
- 3.2 Commercial Rabbit Repellents
- 3.3 Natural Rabbit Repellents
- 4 Other Deterrents
- 5 Now You Know How To Get Rid of Rabbits
The Common Rabbit
The most common invasive species of rabbits is the Oryctolagus cuniculus, which is also known as the European rabbit, the domestic rabbit, or the common rabbit.
It originated from the Palearctic region of the world, particularly from the southwestern regions of Europe (Portugal and Spain) and from the northwestern regions of Africa (Algeria and Morocco).
Wild rabbits from this species usually measure around 15 inches to 20 inches long and weigh between 3 pounds to 5.5 pounds. They have gray-colored coats, although you may find hints of black, brown and red tones in certain parts of their bodies.
The underside of the body has a lighter gray color while the underside of the tail is usually white. Meanwhile, domesticated rabbits of this species, of which there are currently about 80 varieties, have a wider range of colors of coat. They are also typically bigger in size and may have shorter lifespans.
European rabbits usually live in groups. If there is enough supply, they would create complex burrow systems, called warrens, that house about 6 to 10 adult rabbits of both sexes.
This species is highly sociable, although they are also highly territorial in nature. The hierarchy typically determines which male rabbit has preference over mating choices.
Therefore, territoriality between male rabbits is most palpable during the mating season.
Speaking of mating, female European rabbits are pregnant for about half to three-quarters of the year, with each gestation taking place for an average of 30 days.
A doe can give birth to about 5 to 6 kits during each gestation.
This means that a doe has the ability to give birth to 30 to 50 kits every year. This species of rabbits are herbivores, eating plants that usually don’t provide enough nutrition.
They may also practice coprophagy, in which they consume their own fecal matter, so as to maximize the amount of nutrients that they get from their food.
During the era of exploration, European rabbits were imported for their fur and meat. They were farmed for this purpose, but the lack of proper pastoral practice resulted to the increase of the wild population.
By the late 1900s, the European rabbit had become an agricultural pest that destroy gardens and crop fields.
Do You Have a Rabbit Infestation?
As mentioned earlier, rabbits are herbivores. Hence, the first sign of infestation is damage to your garden and plants. They normally attack vegetation, landscape plants, and branches that are less than 18 inches off the ground.
To know the difference between a mouse and a rabbit infestation, you can look at the branches and see if they have been cut off at a 45-degree angle. If they are, then you have a rabbit infestation.
Burrows are also a sign of infestation. If you find dugouts in your garden, you might want to check if they are rabbit warrens.
Lastly, you might also find pea-sized fecal pellets in your garden. These are from rabbits and will require attention.
How to Get Rid of Rabbits
There are different ways on how to get rid of rabbits in the yard. You can use fences and covers, commercial repellents, and other natural repellents to solve your rabbit infestation. With these humane solutions, you won’t have to learn how to poison rabbits anymore.
Fences and Covers
Fences and covers are a great solution if you have flower and vegetable beds in your garden. You can secure the perimeter of these garden beds with a targeted coverage that will keep the rabbits away.
Fences are also good in protecting your entire garden or yard. However, hiring people and buying the materials to install a fence may be expensive. To save some cash, you can create and install your own rabbit-proof fence.
If you want to make your own rabbit-proof fence, here’s what you need:
- Chicken wire (length depends on the perimeter of your garden, yard, or flower beds.
- Treated 2×2 posts (at least 4 feet tall)
- Staple gun
Here’s what you need to do:
- Dig around the perimeter of your garden, yard, or flower bed. The channel must be at least 8 inches wide and 6 inches deep.
- On the four corners of the perimeter, dig deeper holes that are at least 9 inches wide. You will secure your 2×2 posts on these deeper holes. If the perimeter is wider than a standard flower bed (in other words, if you’re building a fence for your entire garden), you might need to dig more 9-inch holes across the perimeter. The number of posts you’ll use depends on your preference. Note, however, that the more posts you have, the more secure the chicken wire will be.
- Pound the posts into the 9-inch holes. Cover them up with soil to secure them. Make sure the soil in the channel is approximately level throughout.
- Wrap the chicken wire around the posts. At the bottom, you’ll have to bend the wire outward so that it creates an L-shape. On the corners, you might need to use a bolt to cut vertically through the wire so that it lies flat on the soil.
- Secure the chicken to the wooden posts using the staple gun.
- Lastly, cover the channel with some soil. The L-shape will ensure that the fence is secure to the soil as well.
Commercial Rabbit Repellents
There are several types of commercial repellents that you can try. These commercial repellents include liquid and granular repellents. I haven’t used this personally because I prefer ultrasonic repellents over dangerous chemicals, but it has plenty of good reviews.
Liquid repellents are easy to apply. They usually come in spray bottles and are directly applied to the surface of plants. One of the best selling liquid repellents is Nature’s Mace.
Granular repellents should be applied around the plants that rabbits usually attack. They are best used when the weather is cold.
At the same time, you can also use Thiram and Hinder® repellents in your garden or yard.
Thiram (or C6H12N2S4) is a white to yellow crystalline powder that is used for commercial fungicides for seeds and plants and repellents for animals. It is highly toxic when inhaled, so application must be done by a professional if possible.
It is also moderately toxic when ingested, so it must not be used on edible plants.
Extra care is required when using Thiram – if you have pets or children in your home, it is best advise to find alternative solutions.
Hinder® is a product from the AMVAC Chemical Corporation. It is a deer and rabbit repellent that is mild enough to use on edible plants.
It contains ammonium soaps, which is effective in repelling said animals.
Since the Hinder is made of potentially harmful chemicals, it is recommended to use this on places that cannot be reached by children or pets. Garages, rooftops, and other hard-to-reach places are recommended areas of usage.
Natural Rabbit Repellents
Natural rabbit repellents are cheap and easy to make. They also drive away rabbits without hurting them, which is a very humane solution to your rabbit infestation problem.
There are several ways to use natural rabbit repellents in your garden. You can use fish emulsion, create your own mixture, use ammonia, and plant plants that are natural rabbit repellents.
Use Fish Emulsion
Obviously, fish emulsion has a strong pungent smell that rabbits don’t like. If you place fish emulsion around the perimeter of your garden, they won’t dare come near your plants again. What’s good about this natural solution is that you can also use it as a fertilizer.
Here’s a quick fish emulsion recipe that you can create all by yourself. What you’ll need:
- Brown material or dry leaves
- Fish scraps
- A bucket with a lid (a clear lid if possible)
What you’ll do:
- Depending on the size of your bucket, you need to gather brown material and fish scraps that will each fill a third of the bucket.
- Next, you need to alternately layer your brown material and fish scraps until the bucket is two-thirds full. The top layer should be made of fish scraps to prevent the brown material from floating around.
- Fill the rest of the bucket (leaving a couple of inches of space at the top) with water.
- Cover the bucket with the lid and keep it in a place with little traffic. The emulsion will take about a month to complete, depending on whether the weather stays warm.
- Every day, check on your fish emulsion to see if there are gases or bubbles forming at the top. If there are, release the gas by partially uncovering the bucket.
- Every week, stir the emulsion to keep the gas from building up.
- After a month, you can use the emulsion. Simply strain the liquid material from the solid material by using a spare colander. Dilute 5 ounces of emulsion with a gallon of water before applying to plants.
- You can use the solid material for three rounds of emulsification. Just add water to start the process again.
Create your own mixture
Rabbits are highly sensitive to taste and smell. If you create a spray mixture that masks the real odor and taste of your plants in a way that makes these stimuli less desirable for these animals, you can totally drive them out of your garden or yard.
Here’s a homemade rabbit repellent that you can create all by yourself.
What you’ll need:
- A gallon of water
- A tablespoon of dish soap
- A teaspoon of crushed red peppers
- 5 crushed garlic cloves
- An empty milk jug and a spray bottle
What you’ll do:
- Mix the dish soap, red peppers and garlic cloves with the water. You can use an empty milk jug as a container for this homemade rabbit repellent.
- Shake the mixture, and then leave it to set for 24 to 48 hours.
- After 24 to 48 hours, shake the mixture again. Transfer some of the mixture into a spray bottle for an easier application.
- Apply the mixture to plants that you don’t want the rabbits to eat; the smell and taste of the spray will drive them away. Note, however, that this rabbit repellent is not suitable for vegetables and other edible plants because of the dish soap in the solution. Hence, this rabbit repellent can only be used on flowers and other decorative plants.
- Reapply the solution every week.
Other homemade rabbit repellent recipes that you can try include:
- A tablespoon or two of any spicy sauce, like Sriracha or Tabasco, and water
- A sliced red chili pepper, a tablespoon of crushed black pepper, a raw egg, and water
- A tablespoon of laundry detergent, a couple of mint candies, a splash of vodka, and water
- A couple of lavender flowers and mint leaves, a splash of vinegar, and water
- A couple of mint leaves and garlic cloves, and two raw eggs
These solutions, including the first recipe mentioned on this section, are most effective when applied right after a rainfall.
Use Ammonia to repel rabbits
The scent of ammonia is another effective rabbit repellent. You can soak a couple of rags with pure ammonia, and then lay these rags around problem areas in your garden.
If there are warrens and dugouts, you can also use this natural solution to drive away any rabbits living inside of these nests.
To minimize reapplication, you can put ammonia in empty containers and put the rags in them. The containers will prevent the ammonia from evaporating quickly, and the rags will help dissipate the smell.
You can put also ammonia in a spray bottle and directly apply it on the surface of flowers and other plants.
Plant flowers, shrubs and herbs that naturally repel rabbits.
There are a lot of plants that naturally repel rabbits. You can plant them around the perimeter of your garden to act as a natural barrier to these animals.
Examples of these plants include perennials (such as germanders, peonies, and dahlias), herbs (such as lavenders, oreganos, and lemon balms), and annuals (such as snapdragons, poppies, and marigolds).
If commercial and natural repellents were unsuccessful (which I highly doubt will be the case), maybe it’s time to use other forms of deterrents.
In this section of the guide, we’ll talk about the different types of electronic rabbit repellents, the role of your dogs and cats in repelling these invasive animals, and whether racoons can actually help deter the growth of the wild rabbit population around your neighborhood.
Electronic Rabbit Repellents
Electronic rabbit repellents come in many forms. In this guide, however, we’ll only consider ultrasonic rabbit repellents and irrigation sprinklers.
Ultrasonic Rabbit Repellent
An ultrasonic rabbit repellent is an option only if you (and your neighbors) don’t have pets in the house. Otherwise, your pets will also be affected by this electronic rabbit repellent.
An ultrasonic rabbit repellent uses high frequency sounds to drive away invasive animals. The sound is undetectable to the human ears, and it will only affect the sensitive sense of hearing of animals.
Hence, you can also use this solution if you have other animal infestations in your property. Mice, deer and racoons will also pick up the sound from an ultrasonic rabbit repellent.
An ultrasonic rabbit repellent doesn’t need much maintenance. Most units will cover a radius of 12 meters and will run via an AC power adaptor.
Irrigation sprinklers are not just for watering your grass and plants. They can also be used to drive away rabbits that are damaging your garden or yard. However, unlike the ultrasonic rabbit repellent, irrigation sprinklers will only work if you man them.
Whenever you spot a hungry bunny snatching plants from your garden, you just open the waterworks, and the surprised rabbit will run away as fast as it can.
Dogs and Cats
Apparently, you can also train your pets to chase away rabbits that are damaging your garden and yard.
Aside from helping you to drive away rabbits from your property, chasing rabbits will also be a good exercise for your pets.
You can also spread cat and dog litter around problem areas every week as this can also repel unwanted critters – the litter smell can warn pests that a predator is nearby.
Make sure that you do this while the litter is still fresh.
Do Raccoons Eat Rabbits?
Do raccoons eat rabbits? —That’s a surprise search term, no doubt.
However, the usefulness of raccoon as a rabbit repellent may have some credit to it. After all, there have been numerous reports about raccoon eating domestic rabbits. If they eat pet rabbits, then they can eat wild rabbits too, right?
Well, the answer to that question is yes, but there’s a big BUT. The fact that raccoons eat rabbits is not in any way a reason for you to start raising them in your yard. Raccoons are immensely aggressive animals, especially towards preys and humans.
If you have a racoon in your yard, you have a bigger problem than a rabbit frolicking about, stealing your plants. If you spot a racoon close by, you should call animal control immediately. Racoons are not your friends, and they can’t be trained to hunt down rabbits for you.
Now You Know How To Get Rid of Rabbits
Hopefully, with everything you’ve learned from this guide, you have a better idea on how to deal with your rabbit infestation. Remember, these animals can feel things too, and if there is a humane and natural way of dealing with the problem, you should always consider the more empathic solution.