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Summary: Rabbits qualify as a pest when you don't want them in your garden, but there are laws that protect some animals. So, how do you get rid of wild rabbits?

What's the worst pest you can think of? Rats? Termites? Snakes? Roaches? Sure, these critters are bad, but none of these qualify. I can get rid of rats and I can stop termites dead in their tracks. Snakes aren't so hard to catch and there are tons of products to kill roaches. I've got one word. Rabbits!

œOh, how could those soft, cuddly little furry balls of œlove be the œworst pest? You would know the answer to that if you had them multiplying on your property. If you get them, you don't want them. There is nothing available on the U.S. market that kills them and, besides, who would ever want to kill a bunny?

***image1***Until recently we thought of rabbit reproduction in terms of two to five litters per year, with three to four young per litter. Recent studies have shown that six or seven litters per year are more typical and though the number of young in the first litter is often three or four, as previously thought, subsequent litters normally contain five or six young. Each female in the population at the beginning of spring, that survives until late August or September when reproduction normally stops, can be expected to produce about 35 young! Up to 35% of the juvenile females produced in early litters also raise young of their own in the same season they were born. Figure it out. Left alone, you should have 350,000 rabbits by the end of summer.

In addition to the native rabbit species, there has been a recent explosion of rabbits which have been released by people who were not prepared for the reproduction capabilities of their pets. These domestic rabbits are being released in the wild on a regular basis and they, too, have the same breeding regularity as their wild cousins.

So, how do you get rid of rabbits? Live trapping using a Havahart Live Trap, is always a suggestion. What do you do with them once caught? Snap trapping is another control method if you have the stomach to pry poor dead œThumper out of the trap. Since there are no toxicants or fumigants registered for use to control rabbits you are not really supposed to use moth balls for rabbit control, but some products, such as Dr. T's Rid-A-Critter, which claims rabbit control, do incorporate naphthalene, a chemical sold as moth balls or crystals. There are lists of chemical repellents that may or may not discourage rabbit browsing.

We like a product called Rabbit Scram Professional. Repellents are supposed to be applied before damage occurs and after a rain, heavy dew, or new plant growth.

And don't forget netting. I can never figure out if my rabbits are being kept in or out by the barriers.

If none of those methods work you can do what songster Joni Mitchell once lamented. œPave paradise and put up a parking lot.

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