Chances are, you used to kinda like rabbits. Maybe you even really liked them. They’re so cute! But that was a long time ago. That was before this summer, when they descended on your home like one of the biblical plagues. Now, you’re probably hoping you never have to see another rabbit again. It’s not just you. Rabbits are particularly prevalent in the late summer, and they’re an absolute terror to gardens and yards everywhere. Here’s why rabbits seem like they’re taking over the world right now, and what you can do to stop them.
What are rabbits doing here?Basically, the stuff you don’t want them to do. Rabbits eat your garden, poop all over the place, and sometimes attract predators. Rabbits eat a wide variety of vegetation. They’ll chew on grass, bark, twigs, flower buds, plant leaves, shoots, or any garden vegetables. Rabbit damage looks similar to deer or other animal damage and harms various plants. When rabbits can get a reliable food source, they’ll often stay near it. Most hide during the day and eat in the morning and evening. Some rabbits may even get comfortable enough to nest on your property. Most rabbit species create a small, bowl-like nest called a “form.” They often hide their forms in plain sight, building them into tall grass or near fencing. They line their forms with grass, leaves, or fur and use them to raise their offspring. Rabbits often build burrow-like forms beneath existing cover. Often, these nests will be hidden under decks or porches.
Why are there so many rabbits around?You’ve heard the phrase “multiplying like rabbits,” right? Rabbits are famous (or infamous) for their impressive reproductive capabilities. Rabbit breeding season begins in mid-February and continues all the way until late summer. That means for the past six months, rabbits have been doing nothing but eating and reproducing. Mothers have only a 30 day gestation period and can have several litters of four to eight young each. Baby rabbits grow to full maturity in a manner of weeks. No doubt you can see how, by August, rabbit populations get out of hand. Babies grow up and have multiple babies, those babies grow up and have more babies, and so on. Naturally, the more rabbits there are, the more you’re going to run into. This is particularly likely if rabbits have decided to breed in and around your neighborhood. Common species of rabbit actually prefer breeding near human-populated areas. Our grass is easy to eat and convenient, and our activity and fences keep predators away.
Why are rabbits in your yard?We know it can feel like it, but rabbits probably aren’t targeting your home specifically. In fact, if you talked to your neighbors, you’d probably hear the same complaints you have from them. There are simply that many rabbits around. That being said, certain elements of a yard do tend to bring rabbits around. Most obviously, rabbits love an uncovered garden. If they can get at the ground vegetables you’ve planted, they definitely will. Garden vegetables aren’t the only thing rabbits will want to get their snouts on, either. Any variety of ornamental plants, bushes, shrubs, and flowers could fall prey to the long-eared menace. Basically, if your plants are accessible, a rabbit is coming after them. Rabbits also love yards where they can easily come and go, but predators can’t. Fences they can sneak under make them feel safe and make a yard a good nesting site. They’d also love to get under your porch.
Do Rabbits Nest in the Same Place?If you’ve noticed an influx of rabbits nesting and hopping around your property, you’re probably wondering if they’ll continue to utilize the same nesting spot. Some rabbits will continue to reuse a nesting spot if the conditions are favorable, whereas others will choose to rebuild a new nest each time. Several factors that may encourage rabbits to keep nesting in your yard include:
- The length of your grass. Keeping your grass cut short will discourage rabbit nesting.
- Whether you have wild vegetation (like a flower or vegetable garden). This provides easy access to food.
- Whether or not you have predators in your yard. Cats and dogs that are nearby will generally deter rabbits from nesting.
Where Do Rabbits Nest in My Yard?The ideal rabbit nesting spots are areas near bushes or trees and under (or near) covered porches and sheds. However, it’s not uncommon for rabbits to build nests in open spaces in your yard as well. This means that rabbits may build nests covered with dead grass and twigs in open spots.
How to Keep Rabbits From Nesting in Yards?To keep rabbits from nesting in your yard, you need to make it less appealing for them. Here’s how:
- Keep your grass cut short. Keeping your grass cut short will deter rabbits from nesting as it’s harder for them to burrow down.
- Let Your Pets Outside Pets are seen as predators to rabbits. So, when dogs or cats roam around your yard frequently, rabbits are less likely to make a home there.
- Keep Your Yard Tidy. Although they can be pretty and enjoyable, a flower or vegetable garden will attract rabbits to your yard. It’s like their own personal buffet! Take away easy access to the rabbit’s sustenance and they’ll be less likely to come around.
- Use Props If you’re still having trouble with rabbits in your yard, try incorporating ornamental elements that may spook the animal. For example:
- Lawn gnomes
- Wind socks
- Motion sensing sprinklers