Rabbits might be adorable pets, but they can also be pesky nuisances when they dig holes in your yard and garden. Keeping them away from your property could be as simple as keeping your lawn mowed. However, you might also need to employ a repellent or a tough barrier.
How to stop rabbits from digging holes around your yard and garden? To stop rabbits from digging holes around your yard and garden, it’s best to keep your lawn mowed and eliminate potential burrowing sites. You can also plant foods that naturally repel rabbits, including onions. Using a homemade or commercial rabbit repellent is also an option.
Preventing unwanted burrowing or grazing starts with understanding why rabbits dig holes and where they tend to build their shelters. This article will discuss everything you need to know to put an end to unwanted visits from rabbits. That way, you can keep your yard and garden in tip-top shape!
Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes?
The primary reason why rabbits dig holes is to create a burrow. Rabbit burrows often feature tunnels leading away from the main chamber to ensure ample escape routes. When a rabbit digs a hole in your yard, other holes will soon follow.
Though you might spot rabbits in the early morning or afternoon hours, you’ll rarely spot them at night. That’s because they’re hiding from nighttime predators by sleeping underground in a self-built burrow.
But rabbits can also dig holes and create tunnels to help them gain access to food. So if you’ve got a garden or plenty of vegetation on your property, rabbits may make a beeline toward your yard.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes to Have Babies or to Make a Nest?
Rabbits dig holes to make a nest and create shelter. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re building a burrow to give birth. That said, pregnant rabbits do give birth inside of their den, as it’s a protected space that’s relatively safe from predators.
Of course, the reason why rabbits dig holes varies from rabbit to rabbit and species to species. Some rabbits rely on their burrows to raise their young.
Cottontail rabbits are an excellent example, as their babies are blind and helpless for the first several weeks of life.
How and Where Do Rabbits Dig Their Holes (Burrows)?
Rabbits survive by digging their burrows in safe areas near plenty of vegetation. Their burrows act as shelters and as defense mechanisms. As such, rabbits tend to dig their holes in places with excellent protection, including around human homes.
Understanding how and where rabbits dig for shelter can help you prevent unwanted digging on your property. But to fully grasp why rabbits keep digging in your yard, it’s helpful to think like a rabbit.
After all, if you were a small, soft, and relatively defenseless herbivore, you probably wouldn’t sleep out in the open. You might also find creative ways to avoid potential predators.
How Deep Do Rabbits Dig?
In harder, rockier soils rabbit burrows may only descend to a depth of one foot (30.5 cm). In looser soils rabbit burrows may be a bit deeper, but most rabbits won’t dig much deeper than eighteen inches.
While this lack of depth can be troublesome, especially when tunnels collapse, it’s not a significant problem for rabbits. That’s because most rabbit dens feature numerous tunnels, providing plenty of escape routes after a tunnel collapse.
Do Rabbits Dig Tunnels?
To help survive attacks from predators, most rabbit dens have multiple entrances and exits. As such, a single burrow can result in several hidden tunnels. These tunnels can collapse during heavy rains or when stepped on.
Rabbit trails can often resemble tunnels, especially when they’re made through overgrowth or bushes. Underground rabbit burrows can also have tunnels leading to the aboveground areas.
Homeowners should be wary of rabbit tunnels, as they can quickly become a source of injury. A single wrong step could cause a tunnel to collapse, potentially leading to a sprained or broken ankle.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes in Lawn?
Rabbits may dig holes in a lawn to form a burrow, escape a predator, or gain access to a fenced-off area. They might also dig holes to loosen vegetation for easier eating. If you spot a rabbit hole in your lawn, you may be dealing with a whole family of rabbits.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes in Flower Beds?
Rabbits may dig holes in flower beds to gain access to plant roots. Flower beds with loose soil can also be attractive to rabbits searching for burrow locations, as the dirt will be easy to move.
Some types of flowers are desirable to rabbits. Young tulip shoots, for example, might be particularly alluring for rabbits.
How to Stop Rabbits From Digging Holes Around Your Yard, Garden, and Flower Beds?
To stop rabbits from digging holes around your yard, garden, and flower beds, you’ll want to keep your lawn moved and well-trimmed. After all, overgrown grass, weeds, or bushes are havens for sneaky rabbits.
However, if you’ve been maintaining your yard but are still seeing rabbits, you may want to try an alternative solution. Some of the most effective options include:
- Homemade Rabbit Repellents
- Store-Bought Repellents
- Odorous Plants
You can utilize a homemade repellent to keep rabbits from burrowing into your yard. You’ll need an empty plastic container, water, dish soap, garlic, and powdered pepper.
Mix these ingredients to form a liquid solution, then spray this mixture around the perimeter of your home and yard. Rabbits won’t appreciate the taste or smell of garlic, so don’t hold back when crushing garlic for this DIY repellent.
Of course, you could also choose a store-bought repellent spray, such as Nature's Mace Deer & Rabbit Repellent or pellet. These tend to contain garlic, onion, or sulfuric ingredients that keep rabbits at bay.
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But some store-bought repellents aren’t food or plant-based at all. For example, some rabbit repellents utilize ultrasonic frequencies.
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These devices are perfectly safe around humans, as they emit a high-pitched sound that’s undetectable to people.
However, local wildlife will be sure to hear this frequency and will often flee in the opposite direction. But these repellents can be aggravating for dogs and cats, which is why some homeowners may prefer to use repellent sprays or odorous plants.
Because rabbits don’t care for strong-smelling plants, you might also choose to grow garlic or onion around the perimeter of your property. Lavender is also a great option, especially for those that prefer flowers over herbs and vegetables.
How to Stop Rabbits From Digging Under Fence?
There are several ways that you can stop rabbits from digging under a fence. One of the most popular methods is using thick metal wire mesh along your fence perimeter.
A “rabbit fence” consisting of two electrified wires can protect your garden from rabbits and their hungry family. The wires are angled so the rabbit’s sensitive ears make the first contact. Larger rabbits will hit the upper wire first and smaller rabbits the lower one. The electricity startles the rabbits but does not harm them.
However, you may also want to consider using a rabbit repellent. After all, crafty rabbits can find gaps along the fence border and quickly dig a new tunnel. Keeping these tiny critters far from your yard is often the best and first line of defense, and repellents can help.
Can Pet Rabbits Dig Under Fences?
There’s a good chance that rabbits can still dig under your fences unless you’ve sealed the entirety of your fence’s foundation with several feet of concrete or cement.
This can be a frustrating situation, especially for those who’ve installed a fence specifically to deter rabbits. However, there are several ways that homeowners can prevent rabbits from continuing to dig beneath a fence.
One of the best ways to keep rabbits from undermining your fencing is to install a mesh wire barrier at the base of your fence. Chicken wire tends to be an affordable and accessible option, and rabbits cannot chew their way through it.
It’s crucial to ensure that your chosen barrier material extends several inches beneath the soil. Otherwise, your local rabbit population may simply dig beneath the barrier and into your yard.
How to Stop Rabbits From Digging Under Shed?
If you’ve noticed that rabbits are digging beneath your shed, there are a few things you can do to put an end to it. Firstly, it’s crucial to consider the type of shed you have. If it’s a store-bought shed without a permanent concrete foundation, it may be a haven for burrowing animals.
You can place rabbit repellents around the perimeter of your shed, or you can plant various plants that repel rabbits. Onions, garlic, and lavender are excellent options with aesthetic and practical benefits.
Utilizing a rabbit’s natural fear of predators can also be helpful when deterring digging. For example, placing a plastic owl or snake near your shed may help ward away any curious rabbits.
Finally, you could build a firm concrete foundation for your shed. Not only will a relatively thick foundation help prevent unwanted burrowing, but it could help your shed last longer. After all, a shed raised above ground level is less prone to flooding and foundational decay.
Related: Do Mothballs Repel Rabbits?
There are several species of rabbits, and they can be found throughout the world. But while rabbits can come in many different sizes and colors, their primary behaviors remain consistent. One of the most commonplace rabbit behaviors is burrowing or digging.
When rabbits dig into your yard or garden, it can be challenging to get rid of them, especially overnight. But by keeping your lawn trimmed, utilizing rabbit repellents, and installing rabbit-proof netting and fencing, you can humanely stop rabbits from digging on your property.
List of Sources
Cottontail Rabbits. (2019). Connecticut’s Official State Website.
Link, R. (2004). Living With Wildlife | Rabbits. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Thurston, S. N., Brittingham, M. C. (2007). Cottontail Rabbits. The Pennsylvania State University.
Thompson, M. Y. (2006). Keeping Rabbits Out. New Mexico State University.