Learn More: ODNR Species Guide Index
Rabbits are active all year, live virtually everywhere, and eat most succulent plants. While rabbits do not dig their own burrows they will use other animals’ burrows. They will nest almost anywhere with an easily accessible food supply including open fields, pastures, orchards, mowed lawns, brushy fence rows, rose hedges, young pine plantings, brushy stream banks and dry drainage ditches. Nests are usually shallow depressions in the ground about 4-to-6 inches wide and 4-to-5 inches deep.
Rabbits prefer succulent plants such as clover, dandelion, ragweed, flowers, most vegetables (especially peas, beans, beets, and carrots), raspberry, blackberry, and ear corn. When the preferred food is scarce they will eat hay and the bark of fruit, shade and ornamental trees.
The best deterrent methods include:
- Removing ground cover such as brush piles
- Removing/cutting vegetation along fence rows and ditching
- Frequent mowing of lawns
- Placing low fences around gardens or shrubs (fences should be tight to the ground so the rabbits do not go under them).
- Placing hardware cloth cylinders around trees. The cylinders should be one to two inches from the trunk and should extend beyond the animals reach when standing on snow cover.
Additionally there are chemical taste and odor repellents that homeowners may apply. Remember some repellents are poisonous and all label directions should be carefully followed. Check with a local nursery or garden center for suggested repellents. Usually, taste repellents are the most successful. Professional exterminators may be hired to perform live trapping and relocation of the animals.
Barbara Ray | Nature Education Coordinator | City of Dublin
614.410.4730 | firstname.lastname@example.org