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Humane, live rabbit traps and organic rabbit repellents for gardeners

Today was have another guest blog post from Havahart®, makers of humane pest control.  Be sure to help them raise money for the American Humane Society!  Don't forget to check out their previous guest blog post for us about rabbit proofing.  

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Controlling Rabbits with Traps

Rabbits can cause chaos in your vegetable and flower gardens by eating plants. They enjoy feasting on just about everything, including young seedlings, flowers, bulbs, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. Rabbits also enjoy burrowing, which could mean additional damage to your plants and property.

If you want to completely rid an area of rabbits, you will not be successful because of their rapid reproduction rate. In one season, a single rabbit can produce a whopping 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Traps are an excellent method for battling burgeoning rabbit populations and will effectively reduce the damage to your plants and property. (Hatch)

How to Trap Rabbits with Live Traps

Most live traps have an open mesh steel frame made with heavy-gauge wire. There are many variations of this trap, including single entry (open at one end), double entry (open at both ends), and collapsible (easy to transport and takes less storage space).

Mesh trap are lighter than conventional wooden traps, and because mesh traps are transparent, rabbits are fooled by a sense of safety. Rabbits don’t like to be confined, so this type of open trap is more successful than enclosed, wooden traps.

Plus, live traps feature spring-loaded doors with sensitive triggers for effective trapping. Many traps feature smooth internal edges to protect the frightened, trapped rabbit from injuries. After trapping the rabbit, release it into the wild at least a mile from your home.

If you’re looking for a live trap, there are many on the market today perfect for first-time trappers. Newer live traps feature a lever that allows you to set and release the trap with one hand. This provides you with more safety when releasing the rabbit back into the wild, because a galvanized steel barrier separates you from the animal. (Havahart Easy Set Traps)

How to Trap Rabbits with Live Traps

Rabbits prefer to live in areas that provide adequate cover and escape routes, such as brush piles, briar patches, and thick fencerows. They also love low-cut bluegrass mixed with clovers and shrubs.

If you want to catch more rabbits, place your trap in or along their trails, since rabbits are habitual creatures and follow the same paths regularly. When using a double-entry model, simply place the trap on a rabbit path, with or without bait, and rabbits will be caught before they even realize it. You can also place a trap in front of a rabbit hole or near a den. (Live Trapping Rabbits and Hares)

Before setting your trap, test it by tripping the spring several time to ensure it’s in working order. Repeat this process after you camouflage the trap to make sure any objects aren’t obstructing the trap’s functions. If the trap isn’t closing fast enough, place small stones or weights on top of the doors to make it close faster once the trigger plate is tripped.

If your trap is brand new, don’t become discouraged if you fail to catch a rabbit immediately. Rabbits may have to become comfortable with the trap’s presence before approaching it. You may need to let the trap sit for a few days with its doors propped open, so rabbits become acclimated.  (Animal Trapping Tips)

After the trap is tested and set, remember to check the trap at least once a day, as trapped rabbits may become stressed, increasing their risk of injury. A trapped rabbit could die from exposure if it’s left in the elements, so check traps before it rains. Don’t relocate a nursing mother because her babies will not survive. Also, if you happen to catch an animal other than a rabbit, contact your state’s licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice on releasing the animal safely.

Since a trapped rabbit will usually defecate and urinate while caught, traps should be disinfected with a solution made with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Leave the solution on for 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the trap.  (Basic Trapping Tips)

How to Trap Rabbits: Trap Placement

Rabbits prefer to live in areas that provide adequate cover and escape routes, such as brush piles, briar patches, and thick fencerows. They also love low-cut bluegrass mixed with clovers and shrubs.

If you want to catch more rabbits, place your trap in or along their trails, since rabbits are habitual creatures and follow the same paths regularly. When using a double-entry model, simply place the trap on a rabbit path, with or without bait, and rabbits will be caught before they even realize it. You can also place a trap in front of a rabbit hole or near a den. (Live Trapping Rabbits and Hares)

Before setting your trap, test it by tripping the spring several time to ensure it’s in working order. Repeat this process after you camouflage the trap to make sure any objects aren’t obstructing the trap’s functions. If the trap isn’t closing fast enough, place small stones or weights on top of the doors to make it close faster once the trigger plate is tripped.

If your trap is brand new, don’t become discouraged if you fail to catch a rabbit immediately. Rabbits may have to become comfortable with the trap’s presence before approaching it. You may need to let the trap sit for a few days with its doors propped open, so rabbits become acclimated.  (Animal Trapping Tips)

After the trap is tested and set, remember to check the trap at least once a day, as trapped rabbits may become stressed, increasing their risk of injury. A trapped rabbit could die from exposure if it’s left in the elements, so check traps before it rains. Don’t relocate a nursing mother because her babies will not survive. Also, if you happen to catch an animal other than a rabbit, contact your state’s licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice on releasing the animal safely.

Since a trapped rabbit will usually defecate and urinate while caught, traps should be disinfected with a solution made with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Leave the solution on for 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the trap.  (Basic Trapping Tips)

 

Organic rabbit repellents are available that contain putrescent eggs, the most effective ingredient at deterring rabbits from entering a treated area.

Rabbit Repellents -- An Effective Alternative to Trapping

If live trapping isn’t catching all the rabbits near your property, or if you don’t have the time to set and check traps, rabbit repellents are an effective alternative. These repellents contain ingredients that deter rabbits from entering treated areas.

The most effective ingredient used to repel rabbits is putrescent egg solids. This simulates the scent of decaying protein, which fools rabbits into thinking a predator is close. Rabbits stay away from treated areas out of instinctive fear of the smell. The scent is also effective at deterring deer from eating your plants.

There are effective, organic rabbit repellents that contain the putrescent egg scent. To be sure the repellent is truly organic and contains all natural ingredients, look for the OMRI logo on the label.

Works Cited

Hatch, Jonathan. How to Get Rid of Rabbits. 23 April 2010 <http://www.getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-rabbits.htm>.

Live Trapping Rabbits and Hares. 23 April 2010 <http://www.beaglesunlimited.com/rabbitraising_livetrappingrabbitsandhares.htm>.

Animal Trapping Tips. 3 6 2010 <http://www.havahart.com/advice/animal-trapping/expert-tips>.

Basic Trapping Tips. 3 6 2010 <http://www.havahart.com/advice/animal-trapping/expert-tips/basic-trapping-tips>.

Havahart Easy Set Traps. 3 6 2010 <http://www.havahart.com/ourbrands/easy-set-havahart-traps>.

Guest Post by Havahart®