Hi folks, me again, and a slightly controversial subject. First off lets explain what a rabbit is. The wild rabbit (oryctolagus cuniculus) is found in most parts of the world and known by all in . They are mainly a shade of brown/grey in colour, although other colours like black or white are not uncommon in certain areas. Ears are smaller and tend to have more movement than a Hares ears. They weigh on average 1.5kg as an adult. They are not rodents but Lagomorphs, this means they have double front incisors. They also cost farmers on average and upwards of £50-£100million a year in damages to crops, putting up the price of many key ingredients in food and food production, for example cereal crops, baking products, even down to yes you guessed it, carrots.
Rabbits breed between February and September in general but a winter brood isn’t uncommon in warmer parts of the U.K. Although these will need to be strong to survive Mother Nature.
They have a litter on average 5+ with 12 not being uncommon. They take around a month to gestate. It takes roughly four months to reach sexual maturity and can produce up to five litters a year.
If we said a single pair of rabbits created a home (warren) on your land, they had the average of five babies and five litters in a single year you are now looking at 25 plus the original pair using your land as a food source, toilet and a home.
So a small warren with a single pair of rabbits not a problem you may say and we would tend to agree. At the end of the year when there is the average of 27 rabbits the big problems start to occur. The warren needs to be bigger, they need more food and they do more damage.
What happens when those cute baby rabbits start to breed?
A rabbit may forage up to about 500m from the main warren. What’s within 500m of the main warren in your garden?
If the answer is a neighbours property you can be liable for all damage on their property through failing to control the numbers on your own property.
You or a pet (dog, horse etc) may be walking and fall through the roof of a warren you didn’t even know was there, this may end in a bruise or an expensive vet bill or hospital visit.
Flowerbeds may disappear and grassed areas will be replaced with the unsightly rabbit bumble or grass burnt with stains from rabbit urine.
Rabbits will undermine roads and railways to make a home. A rabbit will make a home anywhere safe like under decking, log piles, a shed even in fir trees with branches down to the ground (yes I have caught a rabbit in a situation like this). What if the shed has electrics? Another danger although fairly uncommon but a possibility non the less. They make their home where ever they feel safe.
Let’s start with myxomatosis (myxi) which for those who don’t know what this “disease” is I will explain.
Myxomatosis is a very inhumane, man made disease to control rabbit numbers . It is carried by the rabbit flea and yes, I did say man made. It causes blindness and affects organs in a horrible way, affecting how a rabbit acts and the way it finds food. To be honest I hate this disease, and in laymen terms it blinds and starves it to death slowly. I could never walk past a myxi rabbit without unfortunately having to “save it from pain and suffering” from that nasty disease by dispatching it humanely. Unfortunately the end result may be the same but there is humane and then there is suffering, I’m all for humane, there is no cure and they will not survive the disease, they will only get worse. Myxomatosis upsets me to be totally honest as it was a disease made by man that luckily didn’t wipe out the rabbit population as a whole. These days there are now rabbits that are becoming resistant to this terrible disease.
We have numerous ways of controlling rabbits but it always starts the same.
Exclusion and elimination.
We can use rabbit proof fencing to deter these from your property. This can be aided by the use of a drop box trap which work well together to minimise damage to this rabbit proof fence (a rabbit likes to chew as we all know) and your property.
This is a form of exclusion.
Elimination speaks for itself. We can use a large number of methods which are both legal and humane in the control of rabbits from Spring traps , live catch traps like cages and snares (yes snares are live catch traps as they are anti lock these days).
We can also use a specialised gas , which has a very strict guideline on usage.
Last but not least, and my favourite way if I had to pick a single method, is F erret ing . I chose this as my favourite method for many reasons, but the two main ones are it’s a natural form of pest control and a ferret can clear a rabbit warren in a short amount of time. This also takes skill and precision and is a workout for anyone who works with ferret s . The downside is the fact that it can only be done in winter.
So in conclusion the best way to deal with rabbits is by employing numerous techniques and methods of control. This is dependent on where the rabbits are located, the approximate number of rabbits on the property , and the environment around them.
For rabbit problems in your area why not contact us at S hire P est S olutions for a rabbit survey and let us help you in the most professional way possible? We can work with you to make your property a safer, damage free and altogether better looking landscape once more.
Many thanks to all readers