Rabbit Problems

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Common in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) likes to munch on your vegetable garden, blackberry and raspberry bushes, and even gnaw on your fruit or nut trees.Rabbit Problems in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Rabbits are cute, fuzzy and gentle animals that can also be quite a nuisance to you and your property. Common in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) likes to munch on your vegetable garden, blackberry and raspberry bushes, and even gnaw on your fruit or nut trees.

Eastern Cottontails are either red-brown or gray-brown with large hind feet, long ears and a short fluffy white tail. It has large brown eyes and big ears in order to see and listen for danger.The average adult rabbit weighs about 2 to 4 lbs with the females generally heavier than males. They do not hibernate and are most active at night, early dawn and late dusk.

When Rabbits Find Food and Shelter on Your Property...

Rabbits eat grasses, fruits, and vegetables in the spring and summer, and twigs, bark, dogwoods and maple trees in the winter. In high numbers, they can destroy your garden, crop, and trees. During mating season, the average number of litters a female rabbit will have is 3 to 4 and each litter contains, on average, 5 kits (babies). Known famously for their rapid reproduction, suburban areas offer even greater protection from their natural predators. In essence, rabbit populations in the suburbs won't get thinned out as they normally and naturally do in the wild.

The Eastern Cottontail rabbit is a very territorial animal and once they have created a feeding place, they are very hard to get rid of. Because they are most active at night, their destruction can go undetected for quite a while before gardeners and homeowners find vegetation disapperaring or dying off. They prefer areas where they can hide quickly but still be out in the open, much like a garden in the suburbs.

With a reliable food source and shelter from predators, your property can be very attractive to a rabbit.

Rabbits can present health and safety concerns...

Uncontrolled rabbit populations living on your property can attract large preying animals such as badgers and wolves. Additionally, Tularemia (also known as Pahvant Valley plague, Rabbit fever, Deer fly fever, Ohara's fever) is a bacterial disease of rabbits that is transmittable to humans, although it is extremely rare.

Even though you may be accustomed to seeing cute little rabbits in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky neighborhoods, remember that they are wildlife. Keep your family and your pets at a safe distance.

Is it a Rabbit?

If you suspect rabbits are destroying your crops, garden or trees, but haven't actually caught them in the act, here are some ways to determine if they could be the culprit. Clues include:

  • Crisp, clean cuts on leaves and foliage -  A rabbit's sharp front teeth cut straight through without leaving any ragged edges.  On woody plants, the cut will be at a 45ยบ angle.  If the chewing damage looks raggedy it is more likely caused by deer.
  • Distinctively round droppings that have a coarse texture - as opposed to deer droppings which are oval shaped and smooth.
  • Damage is low to the ground - Rabbit damage is generally found under 20 inches.  Any higher than that most likely indicates deer damage.

The Best Solution...

While prevention of the problem is the first approach, once rabbits have found a home on your property, trapping and removal may be the only effective solution. An effective and safe trapping plan will include:

  • Identifying points of access
  • Identifying nesting sites
  • Determining the number of animals using the site
  • Establishing whether offspring are present

Traps must be set so as not to endanger non-targeted animals (such as pets), and to securely and quickly trap the rabbits. Care must be taken to capture and remove babies, if present, as well.

Nesting sites must be safely cleaned, sanitized and deodorized. Once all of the problem rabbits are removed, repair of property damage and improvements to prevent re-infestation by other rabbits must be conducted using professional-grade materials and workmanship.

Tips to Reduce Rabbit Problems

Rabbits are a familiar sight in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky neighborhoods and can quickly become a nuisance. In addition to trapping and removal by an animal control expert, you can help manage problem rabbits in a number of ways:

Keep property well groomed - Shrubs and weeds that are frequently trimmed leave very few places for rabbits to hide. By keeping it well groomed, you make your property less attractive to rabbits.

Remove debris - Rabbits love piles of stones or wood, thick bushes, and brush because they are safe places to hide.

If you live in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and rabbits are creating a nuisance, trapping and removal may be the only long-term, cost-effective solution. Trapping should be conducted by a trained, licensed professional to protect your family and your property as well as to ensure humane removal of the animals. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your animal nuisance problem.

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