Behaviour and the need for control
Rabbits cause extensive damage to crops and gardens from feeding on young shoots in spring and summer. The warrens are also an inconvenience as they can undermine buildings and disturb the roots of hedging.
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 especially like the first shoots that appear in early spring.
The proverbial carrot certainly is not the only vegetable that rabbits eat. 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 by gnawing bark or clipping off branches, stems, and buds.
The rabbit population is now estimated to be 40 million, it has risen by around 10% in 10 years.
A doe produces about four litters per season with an average litter size of six kittens. The does in these litters are ready to breed at six to ten months of age.
Traditionally the breeding season for rabbits is from March until October. This season is now extending with warmer winters, and kittens (young rabbits) have been seen in December!
By law landowners are required to deal with pest species living on their land and to prevent them from damaging neighbors' property under the Pests Act 1954.
Fencing is sometimes appropriate where the animal can be stopped from invading the premises.
Trapping can be carried out on any site, however, without some form of proofing the area, rabbits quickly re-colonies the warrens. Trapping can be carried out at any time of the year.