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Who doesn’t like seeing rabbits and their young scampering about the lawn or field, early in the morning, with dew glistening in the morning sun? It is a delightful sight BUT, when the population of rabbits is out of control, the results for farmers, fruit farms and other businesses, as well as domestic settings, can be devastating.
On one hand, you have the cute rabbit cartoon characters but on the other, you have destructive force of chewing, eating and digging; add to this their capability to breed in vast numbers - and quickly! – and the reasons to regulate the rabbit population is obvious.
Who could need help with rabbit control?
Farmland, estate and country parks can be prone to huge damage from rabbits – 7 rabbits can eat as much as a sheep, so even small number of rabbits can wreak untold havoc on crops and woodland. With an estimated £100million in crop damage caused on an annual basis, rabbits are easily the farmers’ number one pest.
Stables, livery yards and riding venues also find an uncontrolled rabbit population can cause many problems. Not only is the loss of quality grazing an issue, but the burrow holes that they leave behind can spell disaster for a horse. There have been cases of horses damaging legs and hooves (and sometimes worse…) in rabbit holes, leaving many a horse owner with large vet bills.
Orchards, forestry and fruit farms also need effective control of the rabbit population. Ring barking – the gnawing of the bark from the lower level of the tree – is common where rabbits run amok; with poor weather, the tree could die. However, with only a small portion gnawed by rabbits, it can still spell disaster with disease and fungi taking hold. Trees, if they don’t succumb to disease, can become unstable too making management of the orchard or forest difficult and complex.
Gardens can also be the home of rabbits – eat flowers and plants (more often than not, the ones the prize the most highly!) as well as being a general nuisance by making your garden look unkempt, creating holes and patches on the lawn that many gardeners find unsightly.
Those people will allotments, or grow their own veg in the garden, will also know the issues when rabbits eat the new shoots of young plants and how soon a crop can die from being gnawed and chewed by rabbits. Unfortunately, unless something is done regarding them, the problems can get worse year on year…
Important infrastructure such as railways and motorways are not immune from the damage caused by rabbits either; embankments full of vegetation and trees make great, safe habitats for rabbits but with their destructive gnawing and burrowing, trees and shrubs etc. can be unsafe – an accident waiting to happen on the side of busy commute routes and train lines.
But rabbits are not solely a rural issue; urban sports and recreation grounds can be a common place where we are called to deal with burrows and other damage caused by rabbits. Overnight, a delightful bowling green or a pristine cricket pitch can become unplayable. Wherever rabbits are causing damage in public places, there is an immediate health and safety issue.
Industrial areas are also prone to rabbit infestations, although many people would think the very ‘concrete’ and built nature of these areas would not be to their liking. But rabbits are resourceful, and will make their tunnels beneath roads and tracks, for example, as well as making their ‘burrows’ in readymade pipes etc.
And finally, as we try to conserve land to encourage the population of various insects, mammals and birds, uncontrolled and large rabbit populations can soon render these places uninhabitable to some of the creatures that the area is attempting to attract.
Rabbit control and management measures
Many people think that because they are natural, rabbits cannot be controlled or eradicated from an area but this is not the case.
Over the years, it has been recognised that the need to keep the numbers of rabbits under control is essential to maintain a balance within nature. The diseases that some rabbits carry also deemed unacceptable and the solution is to have effective control measures and management in place.
There are a number of methods that we can use, depending on the infestation and budget, although this is a long term control plan, not a short term fix:
- Rabbit proof fencing
- Drop boxes
These are just 4 solutions in a box of many rabbit control measures! Be assured we always practice humane methods and we also recognise that in some commercial settings, for example, that a discreet and low-key service is essential so as not to cause distress to customers and staff.
If you have a rabbit infestation or would like to know more about rabbit management, call us here at The Pest Company.