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Food Habits, Damage, and Damage Identification
The appetite of a rabbit can cause problems every season of the year. Rabbits eat flowers and vegetables in spring and summer. In fall and winter, they damage and kill valuable woody plants. Rabbits will devour a wide variety of flowers. The one most commonly damaged is the tulip; they usually like the first shoots that appear in early spring. The proverbial carrot certainly is not the only vegetable that cottontails eat. Anyone who has had a row of peas, beans or beets pruned to ground level knows how rabbits like these plants. Only a few crops --corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, and some peppers --seem to be immune from rabbit problems. Equally annoying, and much more serious, is the damage rabbits do to woody plants gnawing bark or clipping off branches, stems, and buds. In winter in northern states, where the ground is covered with snow for long periods, rabbits often severely damage expensive home landscape plants, orchards, forest plantations, and park trees and shrubs. Some young plants are clipped off at snow height, and large trees and shrubs may be completely girdled. When the latter happens, only sprouting from beneath the damage or a delicate bridge graft will save the plant. A rabbit’s taste in food can vary considerably by region and season. In general, cottontails seem to prefer plants of the rose family. Apple trees, black and red raspberries, and blackberries are the most frequently damaged food-producing woody plants, although cherry, plum, and nut trees are also damaged. Among shade and ornamental trees, the hardest hit are mountain ash, basswood, red maple, sugar maple, honey locust, ironwood, red and white oak, and willow. Sumac, rose, Japanese barberry, dogwood, and some woody members of the pea family are among the shrubs damaged. Evergreens seem to be more susceptible to rabbit damage in some areas than in others. Young trees may be clipped off, and older trees may be deformed or killed. The character of the bark on woody plants also influences rabbit browsing. Most young trees have smooth, thin bark with green food material just underneath it. Such bark provides an easy-to-get food source for the rabbits. The thick, rough bark of older trees often discourages gnawing. Even on the same plant, rabbits avoid the rough bark but girdle the young sprouts that have smooth bark. Rabbit damage can be identified by the characteristic appearance of gnawing on older woody growth and the clean cut, angled clipping of young stems. Distinctive round droppings in the immediate area are a good sign of their presence too. Rabbit damage rarely reaches economic significance in commercial fields or plantations but there are exceptions. For example, marsh rabbits have been implicated in sugarcane damage in Florida. Growers should always be alert to the potential problems caused by locally high rabbit populations.
Rabbit Control Methods
Methods to control rabbits include use of repellents like animal urine's such as fox urine, or traps with bait. There are no poisons registered for use on rabbits. In the winter months rabbits are easier to trap when food sources are limited. In many situations faster results can be obtained with repellents. Fast results can be obtained when using repellents for rabbit control. It is always a good idea to use two different types of repellents. While the rabbit blaster works on the "smell of fear" principle the garden protector reinforces it with "visual danger". When these two products are used together success is greatly increased.
As a general rule granular repellents are easier to handle and last longer than liquids.
Rabbit Blaster /Rabbit Repellent. Non messy easy to use granular rabbit repellent. Made from urine's and other natural odors that creates the illusion for rabbits that death may be just around the corner. Just sprinkle around the area you want them to stay away from. Reapply only after very heavy rains as this product does not wash away easily. This is a all natural product.
GP1... Garden Protector (Patent Pending) Surprisingly effective. Keep unwanted rabbits, woodchucks, deer, birds and other pests out of the garden. Fluttering, colors and sounds mimic "strike movements" of predatory birds. Possibly the easiest yet most effective method of reducing or eliminating garden damage. No batteries, cords, or other maintenance requirements. Easy to install and durable. Directions included. If you are looking for an easy way to deter unwanted animals from your yard or garden this is the tool you need. So easy and effective you won't believe it until you see how well it works! Use with Rabbit Blaster for a one two punch.
General Biology and Reproduction
Rabbits live only 12 to 15 months, and probably one rabbit in 100 lives to see its third fall, yet they make the most of the time available to them. Cottontails can raise as many as 6 litters a year. Typically, there are 2 to 3 litters in northern parts of the cottontail range and up to 5 or 6 in southern areas. In the north (Wisconsin), first litters are born as early as late March or April. In the south (Texas), litters may be born year round. Litter size also varies with latitude; rabbits produce 5 or 6 young per litter in the north, 2 to 3 in the south. The rabbit’s gestation period is only 28 or 29 days, and a female is usually bred again within a few hours of giving birth. Rabbits give birth in a shallow nest depression in the ground. Young cottontails are born usually fur-less with their eyes closed. Their eyes open in 7 to 8 days, and they leave the nest in 2 to 3 week. Under good conditions, each pair of rabbits could produce approximately 18 young during the breeding season. Fortunately, this potential is rarely reached. Weather, disease, predators, encounters with cars and hunters, and other mortality factors combine to keep a lid on the rabbit population.
Because of the cottontail’s reproductive potential, no lethal control in effective for more than a limited period. Control measures are most effective when used against the breeding population during the winter. Control techniques include repellents, shooting, live trapping, lethal traps, or fencing. Repellents include fox urine and the garden protector. Live traps using baits or rabbit urine can be used. If the burrow entrance can be found body traps(kill) can be used very effectively. Return to main menu for product category.