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Dealing with an Oryctolagus cuniculus problem

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Blog entry by KnickKnack posted 1343 days ago 1603 reads 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Catchy title, yes?

When we bought our house and 2 hectares (c 5 acres) 2 years ago, the guy we bought it from used to keep rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and hares. They are free range – the entire property has a rabbit & fox proof fence buried in concrete around the border.
It’s nice to watch them frolicking around – especially the hares – but, rabbits being rabbits we now have quite a lot of them. We try to keep weeds around, and water some of the grass, but it’s hot hot hot here, and hasn’t rained for about 10 weeks (and isn’t likely to for at least another 6), so food for them is becoming a problem. They are solving this by eating our trees, shrubs, flowers – just about anything. And, rabbits being rabbits, even if they don’t like something, they’ll destroy it anyway, just to kill it in the hope that something they do like will grow there – smart chaps, rabbits.
This is Portugal, so I’m supposed to go and buy a shot gun and shoot them. But I don’t kill things, and, when we moved in, I went to all the rabbits and told them they were safe from human activity on our land.
Leaving us with a problem.
Our cats used to catch the odd one or two small ones, but they seemed to have stopped.
I dressed in a rabbit suit and tried to do a “pied piper” to lead them through the gate, but they didn’t get it.
The eagles fly overhead, but I’ve never seen one catch a rabbit.


One of the culprits


Another culprit

So, after much research and development, I’ve built a rabbit trap, which I present here in case someone might find it useful. It’s not exactly “fine woodworking”, which is why I haven’t posted it under projects.

Basically there’s a sliding door which, through a string mechanism, is released when a creature knocks the supporting stick that projects into the inside.
I bait mine with windfall apples, since they didn’t seem to like the carrots we bought specially.
I’m now averaging about 1 every 2 days – just before bed we check the trap and release the captive into the wild, with a few rudimentary survival instructions. We don’t have much that’s green but there’s quite a lot of scrubland around outside for food (not to mention people’s vegetable plots – sorry about that)



Scrap MDF from the local DIY store, and screws.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."



16 comments so far

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

920 posts in 1643 days


#1 posted 1343 days ago

Way to go, KK. You’ll get them wascally wabbitts!

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1521 posts in 1695 days


#2 posted 1343 days ago

A dog would get rid of them fast if you open the gate ;) I actually heard the sound of one squeezing through my shadow box fence (thoomp) when my dog saw one in the back yard and wanted to chase it. It even left a little fur behind on the wood. I haven’t seen any more rabbits since :)

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 2753 days


#3 posted 1343 days ago

Sounds like you need a ferret or ten.

-- To do is to be

View DaddyZ's profile

DaddyZ

2332 posts in 1540 days


#4 posted 1343 days ago

And you wonder why the Previous owners left, Bugs Bunny is smarter the Elmer Fudd !!!! :-)

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Richard 's profile

Richard

385 posts in 1621 days


#5 posted 1343 days ago

Maybe you could invite your local Falconry Club to have a meeting at your place. Looking at all your projects, you would certainly would have no problems finding stools and benches for the members to sit and watch their birds in action. Offer a replica of that nifty looking Adironveld Chair to the owner who catches the most prey.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1423 days


#6 posted 1343 days ago

Call Elmer Fudd

-- Life is good.

View brunob's profile

brunob

2275 posts in 2669 days


#7 posted 1343 days ago

I have lots of rabbits as well. I bought a spray that works fairly well to keep them away from things I don’t want them to eat.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2482 posts in 2212 days


#8 posted 1343 days ago

KK, can you give us a little more explanation on how the trap door is balanced and tripped? What purpose does the metal grate serve? This looks like an economical solution to the problem. We might be able to put it to use with woodchucks and raccoons.

Tnanks for posting. L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View jackass's profile

jackass

350 posts in 2213 days


#9 posted 1343 days ago

Seems to me your problem is that the rabbits are on the wrong side of the fence. A style might take care of the little critters if you can get someone or some thing to chase them out. Then remove the style. Keep us posted.
Jack

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

962 posts in 2066 days


#10 posted 1342 days ago

A little more about how it works.
Hopefully this diagram says most of it…

RabbitTrap

Ref: The metal Grill
3 reasons…
1) I figured a rabbit would be more likely to go in if it could see to the other side
2) When a rabbit gets caught, I figured it would panic less if it could still have the air and to still be able to see the world
3) It can see/smell the bait quite close through the grill, but has to go around to get to it, which triggers the trap.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2482 posts in 2212 days


#11 posted 1342 days ago

Thanks, KK, for taking the time to post the diagram. This looks simple and practical. Are we correct in assuming that you place the bait between the metal grill and the “locked” stick?

Thanks for your help.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View yarydoc's profile

yarydoc

417 posts in 1644 days


#12 posted 1342 days ago

This looks like what we called a rabbit gum. We would sharpen the stick that locks into the hole and stick a piece of apple on it. I made some of these for a pet shop that were small enough for a hamster.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

962 posts in 2066 days


#13 posted 1342 days ago

>> This looks like what we called a rabbit gum. We would sharpen the stick that locks into the hole and stick a piece of apple on it. I made some of these for a pet shop that were small enough for a hamster.

I’d just been putting the bait beyond the stick, as LWLL said, but that sounds like an even better plan – thanks.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View parislights's profile

parislights

5 posts in 1734 days


#14 posted 1326 days ago

huh. that is really somethin’.

Your version of a have-a-heart trap seems just a bit too… well, obvious! Think rabbit! Would you go into a cement block? Nah. Hares are quite intelligent! Nah Think you are gonna have to partition off their area if you want to grow flowers and decorative plants! Either that or let Ma Nature takes care of this. Less food means smaller litters, and only the strongest survive. Without their natural predators your efforts catching them probably won’t be of much help.

-p

hugs to KK n SY

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

962 posts in 2066 days


#15 posted 1326 days ago

>> Your version of a have-a-heart trap seems just a bit too… well, obvious! Think rabbit! Would you go into a cement block? Nah. Hares are quite intelligent! Nah Think you are gonna have to partition off their area if you want to grow flowers and decorative plants! Either that or let Ma Nature takes care of this. Less food means smaller litters, and only the strongest survive. Without their natural predators your efforts catching them probably won’t be of much help.

I kindof agree. Except that it does actually work – averaging about 0.5 rabbits a day. And the hares we don’t want to throw out anyway.
The less food thing is true too, except that I don’t really want to be seeing Belsen style rabbits staggering around. And, before they run out of food, they’ll have eaten/dug up the whole place!
We haven’t given up – we’re up to plan “K” now :-)

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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