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Rabbits in the yard!

Rabbits may be cute and fuzzy and certainly – they evoke warm feelings of family, chocolate and Easter.  But when they get into a nice beautiful backyard, they can be a huge nuisance.  And with spring coming, rabbits are beginning to breed and reproduce, which means they may well venture into your backyard and start viewing your landscape as their food source.

Types of rabbits in Florida

Florida has two types of rabbits – the Eastern Cottontail and the Marsh Rabbit.  Between the two, there are rabbits pretty much all over Florida.  The Marsh rabbits are found in the marshy/swampy areas of Florida and the Cottontail is found pretty much everywhere else so long as there is some open space and an “edge”.    An edge can be anything that provides a small buffer for the animal to hide.  This can include playground equipment, shrubbery or park boundaries.

What it means to you

One of the biggest issues for homeowners is that rabbits are vegetarians.  They love to feast on flowers, vegetables, the bark of trees and shrubs.  Pretty much anything you can grow outside could become dinner for the rabbits.  They especially love the bulbs of flowers and the roots of plants, which mean that your summer landscaping can become pretty scarce.

The second issue for homeowners is that rabbits live in burrows, or tunnels under the ground.  They do this in order to make a safe nest for themselves and their growing brood and keep all safe from predators.  Although bunnies can build their own holes, they usually find a hole that already exists and modify it to suit their needs.

What to do about it

Although it might seem tempting to leave one bunny alone, especially if there is a brand new baby bunny in the nest, remember that bunnies are proliferate breeders.  They also like to return to the same nest year after year in order to give birth and raise their young.  Which means that one bunny soon turns into multiple bunnies – all feasting on your plants.

If you have a vegetable garden, you can protect it with some wire cage fencing.  Make sure to push the fencing down into the ground because rabbits can burrow under loosely planted fences.  For thorough rabbit removal, baiting and trapping are the recommended methods. Rabbits will have to be relocated to an area at least ten miles away from your house as they can easily find their way back.

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