How to Get Rid of Rabbits in Your Yard & Garden

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While rabbits may be cute to look at, they’re not animals you want to share your garden with.

In addition to reproducing rapidly, rabbits will destroy your plants and can wreak havoc on your landscaping, yard, and flowerbeds.

Fortunately, you don’t have to resign your property to rabbit damage. In fact, there are many humane removal methods that can stop rabbits from eating your plants.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to get rid of rabbits without killing them. Our tips will help you remove wild, cottontail, and European rabbits from your backyard, garden, or lawn.

Safety Considerations

  1. Apply repellents and baits in areas away from children and pets.
  2. If using products that contain chemicals, read the product labels carefully to ensure safe application.
  3. If using live traps, handle any captured rabbits with care. Wear heavy gloves and protective clothing to avoid contact with diseases. Be aware of local laws regarding the relocation or euthanization of trapped animals.

How to Get Rid of Rabbits in Your Yard

Natural & Humane Methods

Want to get rid of rabbits for good? Try these home remedies:

1. Repellents

Rabbits have a strong sense of smell, and they use it to guide them to safe, tasty food sources. Fortunately, you can use that sense of smell in your favor if you’re trying to repel rabbits.

To keep these pests from returning, try using various homemade deterrents.

Here are our top suggestions:

    • Use repellents like dried blood meal or sulfur to keep bunnies from entering your garden in the first place. Sprinkle your repellent of choice in the parts of your yard that you want rabbits to stay out of. Make sure to re-apply the repellent after every heavy rain or anytime you water your lawn or garden. If you have dogs, be wary of using this method since they may be attracted to the blood meal.
    • Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the garden or near plants that rabbits love to eat.
    • Use a small, mesh bag to contain shavings of strong-smelling bar soap, and place it in high-traffic rabbit areas.
    • Grind together three hot peppers, three large onions, and a whole bunch of garlic. Add water to cover, let the mixture sit overnight, strain it, and add water to make a gallon of homemade rabbit deterrent. Spray it anywhere you’ve noticed rabbit activity.
    • Apply a light coating of animal lard to the stalks and base area of new seeding replacements to repel rabbits.

We recommend Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent Concentrate if you’re looking for a more powerful repellent. This long-lasting, rain-resistant repellent is safe for use on landscaping, ornamental gardens, flowers, trees, vines, and shrubs and is harmless to plants and animals when used as directed.

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Remember that repellents are only effective if you use them repeatedly and frequently since they can wear off quickly.

Pros: Easy, effective, affordable, non-toxic, gets rid of rabbits without killing them or harming dogs and other pets

Cons: These DIY deterrents require re-application after every heavy watering or rain (except for fencing of course)

2. Fencing

Use repellents and exclusion methods together to keep rabbits out of your garden for maximum effectiveness.

While fencing is time-consuming to install, it is the best way to control rabbits.

To prevent their entry, install chicken wire fencing or wire mesh around your lawn, garden, flower beds, and other areas you’d like to protect.

To ensure the fencing is rabbit-proof, we recommend using 15” tall poultry or bird netting (this product is a great option), although anything taller than 12” will work well. To prevent bunnies from digging under the fence, bury it at least 6” underground.

The top of the fence should be bent away from the garden bed, so rabbits can’t jump over it. You can protect bulbs with a dome or cage of chicken wire.

Pros: Fencing is affordable and humane and can keep other pests out of your garden.

Cons: Fencing can be difficult to install and requires routine repairs and maintenance.

3. Mesh hardware cloth

Create a second line of protection to keep rabbits away from your plants by using cylinders of ¼ inch-mesh hardware cloth to protect young fruit and ornamental trees.

For maximum protection, ensure the cylinders extend higher up the trees than a rabbit can reach while standing on its hind legs. The cylinders should be at least 1-2” off the tree trunk.

You can also use individual tin calls to create “collars” around plants so that they can grow to a less vulnerable size.

Pros: Easy, effective, inexpensive, nontoxic

Cons: Requires a good deal of manual work to install these barrier methods

4. Chicken Wire

Use chicken wire to protect your plants and keep rabbits out of your garden.

Simply wrap the wire around the garden. To prevent rabbits from burrowing underneath, dig the wire several inches into the ground.

You can also use netting to drape over your plants and prevent rabbits from nibbling on vulnerable growth.

Pros: Effective at preventing predation

Cons: Can be unsightly

5. Live traps

While rabbits are intelligent animals that are very difficult to lure into traps, you can do it.

To use live trapping as an effective rabbit control method, you must invest time and patience into determining the rabbits’ daily habits and routes of travel.

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Well-placed live traps can catch and contain rabbits without harming them. Commonly used by rabbit control companies, live traps are a great way to quickly reduce rabbit populations without using lethal methods.

Not sure which live trap to use? We recommend Wilco’s Collapsible Live Trap, which is safe for rabbits, humane, and easy to set.

To make your live traps extra-effective, we recommend adding Wilco Rabbit Lure and placing the traps in the rabbit’s normal path of travel. This bait is a non-toxic paste that’s made from food-grade ingredients. While it attracts rabbits to the trap, it won’t harm them if they ingest it.

If you’re going to use live traps, you must treat the animals ethically.

  • All traps should be checked at least once a day.
  • Any trapped animals should be handled with care.
  • You should wear heavy gloves and protective clothing to avoid contact with diseases transmitted through the animal’s feces and urine.

If you choose to live-trap animals, you’ll need to understand your area’s relevant trapping rules and regulations, as it is generally illegal to relocate live-trapped animals.

If you choose to euthanize the animals, you must only use humane methods. Drowning is not an acceptable option.

While shooting can be an effective solution, it’s illegal in most municipalities and can be dangerous. DO NOT try to shoot rabbits unless you’re a skilled marksman capable of doing so safely and responsibly.

Pros: Effective, fast-acting, humane

Cons: Can be time-consuming to set up and manage, poses a risk of disease

Lethal Methods

If you want to eliminate rabbits, there are lethal methods you can use. That said, we always recommend using humane approaches and avoiding deadly techniques as much as possible.

6. Poison

If you want to kill rabbits, poison is one of the fastest methods. There are many store-bought rabbit positions designed to kill rabbits fast.

There are also jackrabbit baits on the market, but they’re highly restricted and come with many risks.

We advise caution with all poisons since these poisons contain dangerous toxins and are likely not safe for kids, pets, or non-target species.

Pros: Effective, fast-acting.

Cons: These products are highly toxic and inhumane and are not approved for use around kids, pets, or food.

7. Lethal traps

While there are a variety of non-lethal traps available to help you get rid of rabbits, some people prefer lethal traps.

Lethal traps kill rabbits quickly and can be used to cut down large rabbit populations.

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Pros: Non-toxic, safer than poisons

Cons: Requires re-baiting and re-setting of traps, and disposing of dead rabbits, inhumane. Live trapping is also dangerous: live trapping can pose a risk of injury for the trapper and animals and may distress rabbits.

How do Wildlife Removal Companies Get Rid of Rabbits?

wildlife removal company inspection

Interested in hiring a wildlife removal company to get rid of your rabbits? Here’s what you can expect:

Step 1: Inspection

When you hire a wildlife removal company, most teams will start with an inspection of your property.

During this inspection, they’ll arrive at your property, identify rabbit burrows, and assess current rabbit damage.

Next, they’ll make treatment recommendations. During this inspection, they’ll evaluate your property, identify the source and severity of the infestation, and discuss treatment options.

Step 2: Treatment

Next, the wildlife removal company will deliver the treatment method they’ve deemed most appropriate for your property.

Since rabbits reproduce rapidly, getting rid of them usually requires multiple treatments rather than a single appointment.

Step 3: Follow-up

Once the pest control experts have completed their initial phase of treatments, they may move on to exclusion recommendations designed to keep rabbits from returning to your property.

Keeping Rabbits Away

Keep bunnies off your property with these simple prevention tips:

  • Plant onions, garlic, marigold, and other strong-smelling plants around the border of your garden to deter rabbits. While there are no truly “rabbit-proof” plants, rabbits tend to stay away from strongly-scented herbs and plants like oregano, basil, and rhubarb.
  • Keep your yard as tidy as possible. Habitat modification is one of the best ways to get rid of bunnies. Remove hiding spaces by trimming back landscaping, raking up piles of brushes and leaves, and keeping your lawn mowed to limit shelter.
  • Let your domestic pets outside often. Rabbits see pets as predators and will be hesitant to visit a yard with pets.
  • Use scare tactics to startle rabbits. Motion-activated lights, shiny aluminum pie tins, old mirrors, and motion-activated scare devices can all help keep rabbits out of your garden without hurting them.
  • Use store-bought ultrasonic spikes. These spikes emit a noise that’s too high-pitch for people to hear, but that creates an intolerable racket for rabbits.

Need Additional Help? Turn to Pest Dude!

Rabbits can be tough pests to eliminate. If your DIY options have failed or you want expert help, it may be time to find a reputable, local wildlife removal company in your area.

Fortunately, we have a broad network of reputable partners in your area that can help you get rid of rabbits quickly and humanely.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>