Rabbits build tunnels, dig holes, and warrens in the ground. Warrens are tunnels and burrows that connect underground.
When creating burrows, rabbits tend to spread dirt across the ground to make their homes less noticeable by predators.
A wild rabbit’s best chance for survival includes safety, breeding habits, and food resources which is why they inhabit backyards.
Where Do Rabbits Live in My Yard? Finding Rabbit’s Nest
Rabbits like to build their nests undercover and out of harm’s way – also known as edge areas or urban locations.
If you have noticed dead grass patches or a small pile of leaves covering a small area in the corner of your yard, you may have spotted a rabbit’s burrow.
The most common rabbit species in North and South America are called cottontails.
Cottontails typically breed starting in spring and summer. At the beginning of March is when rabbits will find their home.
Rabbit nests aren’t hard to find as they usually burrow out in the open, close to bushes and grassy areas.
The nest will often have baby bunnies (kittens) just under a patch of dead grass or leaves.
What Attracts a Rabbit to Your Yard?
Firstly, as many things might attract a bunny to your yard, many of the same things attract other wild visitors, such as deer, skunks, moles, opossums, and rats or mice.
Ensure that it is rabbits that are inhabiting your yard.
If your conclusion is clear that you have a rabbit infestation, then why are they here?
Things that attract a wild rabbit include:
- Fresh soiled plants, flowers, and vegetables.
- Large trees and bushes to hide
- Open gardens
- Safe and enclosed – no predators
- Woody areas
When you picture the perfect home for a rabbit, you may imagine a lush, green enclosed area decorated nicely and upkeeped with professional landscaping.
What Damage Can a Wild Rabbit Cause?
Although cute and friendly, rabbits cause minor to extensive damage to your property.
This includes plant and equipment damage, rabbit droppings, and even the ability to cause disease.
Perhaps the leading damage rabbits cause is to your gardens and plants. A bunny’s diet consists mainly of vegetables, hay, grass, and annual or perennial flowers.
Sometimes, you’ll find tree roots chewed as they feed tender bark.
Equipment damage that could result in rabbit habitat is chewed hoses and water resources such as pipes.
Wild rabbits carry diseases such as rabies and tularemia or rabbit fever. These diseases can be transferred to other household pets, and humans can make them fatally ill.
The diseases can become easily transferred through touching plants rabbits have chewed on and cleaning their feces.
Although rabbits can cause damage, you should find ways around their pesky habits, such as installing barriers and fences.
Ultimately, you may want to go with a cheaper option and make your yard less presentable.
Natural Rabbit Preventatives
Resorting to pest control chemicals is unnecessary and will only harm your yard more than solving the problem.
However, there are measures you can take to prevent rabbits from inhabiting your home naturally.
Making Your Yard Less Inhabitable
Removing large shrubs, cutting back bushes, and mowing and cleaning your yard weekly keep your yard open, which will defend your home from rabbits.
Since rabbits like quiet and peaceful areas, choosing a place with noise and animals will repel them.
You should pick up any area with debris, sticks, leaves, and fallen fruit regularly, as rabbits use these materials to build breeding nests.
Pets such as dogs and cats leave scent trails. Rabbits take these scents and stray far away as they view them as potential predators.
Other scents such as catnip, ammonia, vinegar, and garlic will repel rabbits, so sprinkle some fresh garlic or spray around your gardens with vinegar.
Plants such as lavender, sage, Shasta daisies, and tall plants are a good idea to plant around your gardens to repel rabbits.
Fencing can be a more expensive option; however, building crates over gardens and plants is an excellent preventative measure.
Ensure your fencing material is chicken wire, ½ inch mesh, hardwire cloth, and wood.
When making a fence or crop cage, remember not to plant your garden too close to the material. Otherwise, rabbits may push their noses to get at your crops.
Scare tactics such as sprinklers, scarecrows, fake owls, garden gnomes, flashing lights, and yard decoratives will scare rabbits, thus forcing them to stay away.
Close Off Areas to Hide
Hiding places include tall grass, woodpiles, shed decks, and sheds for warm and safe rabbit nests.
Make sure you cover or build barriers to hide sheds and enclosed areas.
Cut down tall grass and clear woodpiles, ensuring that your yard is as clean as it can be.
How Do I Live Happily With Wild Rabbits?
If you don’t mind the company of wild rabbits, there are humane and compassionate ways to live with your new friends.
Firstly, if you don’t want your wild friends to damage your property and plants, ensure that you create a crop or fruit cage.
However, just because you keep the rabbits out of your garden doesn’t mean you can’t help them out. You can feed wild rabbits safely by purchasing:
- Rabbit pellets
- Baby carrots or carrot heads
- Romaine lettuce.
While you can create barriers in your sheds so that your hoses and other tools don’t get destroyed, you can set up your own home-made bunny home providing materials such as:
- Cotton or wool pieces
- Perennial flowers
If you have a reasonably large yard, you could plant certain repelling scents on one part of your yard (where your plants are) and have rabbit enticing plants on the other.
Although owning wild rabbits is illegal in some countries and states, it is possible to reside comfortably with them as long as you don’t disturb their natural balance and way of life.
Pros of Having a Backyard Rabbit
Owning a pet rabbit instead of residing with wild ones in your backyard are two very different things.
There are a few pros to consider when deciding whether to rid your yard of the rabbit inhabitant or keep them.
Rabbits eat mainly fruits and vegetables, although too much fruit and some vegetables can be toxic.
While rabbits prefer fresh ingredients, you can still give them vegetables that are inedible for your dinner.
The more compost items your rabbits eat, the less you will throw away, thus resulting in a larger eco-footprint.
Rabbit droppings are an excellent fertilizer, as you don’t need to mush it or break it down.
Adding rabbit droppings to your crops keeps the soil fresh and cuts down on your soil/fertilizer bill.
Quiet / Keep To Themselves
Rabbits are so quiet and easily admissible, your landlord or neighbors will make minimal (if any) noise complaints.
They will rarely wake you at night and usually keep to themselves.
Don’t Require a Ton of Space
Rabbits like to stay reasonably close to each other, which is one of the reasons they make burrows and tunnels underground.
Whether your yard is big or small, your wild bunnies make their home on their terms with simple ingredients for nesting and small areas to run around.
Cons of Having a Backyard Rabbit
As with anything, with each advantage, a disadvantage follows.
Owning wild rabbits is much different than owning domestic ones, and wild rabbits come with considerable responsibilities.
Most rabbits have up to seven litters per year and birth five to twelve kittens.
A rabbit’s gestation period lasts 30 days and can become re-pregnant almost immediately after birthing their babies.
Some rabbits start breeding at the beginning of March and don’t stop until late September.
On the other hand, house bunnies will not breed this much due to their enclosed caged areas.
With a pet rabbit, you can control just how much your pocket pet chews and as you control what materials you give it.
With wild rabbits, it’s hard to identify what they are getting into due to their unsocialized behaviors.
Expect to have chewed hoses, wires, and deep holes in your backyard, unless you make these items unreachable.
Can Be Costly
With damage control, repotting plants, preventative measures, and the yearly yard upkeep, you can expect to spend hundreds, if not thousands, per year to keep your wild friends.
Rabbits like to dig and make burrows in safe, peaceful, and attractive places.
They find sticks, leaves, and other debris to build their nests for breeding and living purposes.
If your backyard has bushes for shelter, patio coverings for warmth, and scattered yard debris for nests, it is a perfect home for rabbits.
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