There is nothing better that the sight of scampering bunnies across an open field on a bright, sunny morning, with dew still glistening on the grass…
… unless it is your garden, country estate or farm land and their numbers are so out of control that the damage being caused is astronomical.
The problem with rabbits
In a nutshell, they are natural gnawers and chew just about anything, from saplings to fence posts, established trees, crops etc. and, like other animals and rodents, they can breed at a phenomenal rate. Add to this the fact that they also burrow, leaving holes for livestock and humans to trip over, possibly causing damage to legs and feet, and you can now see what the problems with rabbits can be.
But don’t assume it is just a rural issue…
Embankments nest to motorways and railways can be weakened by their constant tunnelling, as well as their never-ending search for food. Many of these embankments are next to farm land and hence they have a ready supply food that can lead to a loss of harvest, if not significant damage.
Planting trees in this area can also cause a problem as they are partly chewed by rabbits; the integrity and structure of the tree can be damaged, meaning weak trees can become a potential safety issue as they hand precariously close to busy roads or rail lines.
Urban sports grounds and recreations areas can also be at the mercy of uncontrolled numbers of rabbits. Sports pitches of all kinds can, overnight become unplayable after a groups of rabbits wreak havoc with burrowing and the like.
Industrial areas are not immune to the rabbit population either. Rabbits can, and do, tunnel underground and tis can lead to subsidence of roads, pathways etc. They also find their way into artificial ‘burrows’, such as uncapped pipes and the like, again causing a health & safety issues, as well as a nuisance.
The nuisance of rabbits in a rural setting are well-known;
- Farmers suffering crop damage, as well as damage to fencing and trees on their land
- The holes left at the burrow entrance can also be a nightmare for livestock, especially on land used to exercise and train horses; a fall caused by a burrow can have devastating effects on a horse
- Gardeners do not welcome rabbits, again due to the fact they cause so much damage, as well as eating vegetable and prized flowers
- Fruit growers etc. also find the rabbit their common enemy; in this case, gnawing at saplings, young trees as well as established trees can end their productive life, making them unstable too
But, if rabbits are everywhere and common, can they be controlled effectively?
The answer is yes but, as with control of man other pests, it is a marathon and not a sprint.
With the right tools, methods and equipment, there can be a short term impact on the numbers and the reduction in damage caused by rabbits. But, the real answer lay in long term solutions and approached.
Some smaller areas of land can be protected from rabbits, with rabbit proof fencing that prevents them from burrowing underneath and gaining access. Trees etc. can also be fitted with collars that prevents them being gnawed, giving young trees chance to establish themselves.