You may be wondering how to get rabbits to come to your yard, or even what to change to keep them away from you. There are definite factors that affect whether your yard is attractive to rabbits and whether they will come to and stay in your yard. Introducing these elements can make it more likely that you will see rabbits near your home!
How do I attract rabbits to my yard? You should make sure you have plenty for them to eat including flowers and vegetables, as well as places for them to stay and hide so that they can feel safe.
Healthy, Chemical-Free Grass
Having healthy grass is important for the appearance of your yard, but it’s also a bit attractor for rabbits. Rabbits need to eat large amounts of grass and hay a day, so they will look for yards that have plenty of long, healthy grass for them to munch on. If you’re looking to attract rabbits, it’s important not to treat your lawn with pesticides or other chemicals. The smell and taste will deter most rabbits, and the chemicals could kill any rabbits that do eat it.
Wildflowers and Weeds
While grass is an important staple in a rabbit’s diet, weeds and wildflowers spice it up and are very attractive to rabbits. If you have clover and other wildflowers in your yard, rabbits will love to eat them and will favor them over the grass. Most types of weeds are safe for rabbits, including thistles, nettles, brambles, and dandelions. Rabbits will happily eat any of these from a garden or out in the yard, though they prefer plants that are slightly hidden away so they can be protected while they eat.
Places to Hide
Rabbits are prey animals and are very timid. They are always on the lookout for predators and feel most comfortable when they’re hidden. To attract rabbits to your yard, you should have plenty of places for them to hide such as bushes, piles of brush, or long grass. This will encourage them to stay nearby and even establish nests and have babies.
Fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are a wild rabbit’s favorite treat. Having berry bushes is a very good way to attract rabbits to your yard, as they love to eat every type of the plant. Keep in mind that berry bushes will also attract other types of animals to your yard and not just rabbits, which may scare them away. If you pick most of the berries yourself and just leave a few fruits hanging low to the ground, you’re more likely to attract just rabbits than if you left the whole bush full.
It’s not just a stereotype; rabbits love vegetables. Lettuce and carrots may not be the best option, however, as rabbits prefer dark leafy greens. Carrots are root vegetables, and rabbits don’t dig up roots, so they won’t be able to eat the main part. Good vegetable options include:
- Bell peppers
- Dark lettuces such as bok choy
Rabbits will eat every part of these plants.
Herb gardens are just as attractive to rabbits as vegetable gardens. They will graze and eat the entire plant from the leaves to the stems down to the ground. Some herbs are not good for rabbits, such as aloe, elder, jasmine, nutmeg, and poppy. You should avoid growing these plants as many of them will repel rabbits. Good options to grow include:
These herbs even have vitamins and minerals in them that will help keep the rabbits healthy.
Trees and Woody Plants
While rabbits prefer leafy greens, in the winter they will look to trees and bark to keep them fed. Having trees in your yard, especially grouped together to also provide shelter, will tempt rabbits to come out in winter and look for bark or twigs to eat. Evergreens such as pine and cedar are not good for rabbits, as the oils can cause health issues. Better options include willow, maple, and the wood from seeded fruit trees.
A Lack of Predators
If you have dogs or cats that are frequently in your yard, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to see rabbits there. Rabbits are naturally going to avoid areas where they’ve seen predator animals, and even if they take the chance while they see the coast is clear, they’re going to be on high alert and will run as soon as they hear any disturbance. This means that even opening your back door could cause all of the rabbits in the area to scatter.
Of course, you’ll also have to keep your yard free of wild predators. Putting out deterrents to wild coyotes or stray dogs and cats to keep your yard free of other animals will make the rabbits feel safe in that area and keep them coming back to your yard frequently.
A Quiet Atmosphere
In general, the calmer and quieter your yard is, the more likely you are to see rabbits. If you live near a major roadway or have children or animals frequently playing in your yard, you’re less likely to see rabbits in your area. Unless you have a lot of very tempting vegetables in your yard, rabbits will gravitate toward areas that have less activity because they feel safer there. If you live out in the countryside with plenty of space and few disruptions, you’ll probably see lots of rabbits out at dawn and dusk when they are active.
While rabbits can be territorial, they also like to live in groups and will live together in warrens made up of multiple families of rabbits together. If a wild rabbit sees that there are other rabbits in the area, they may try to come live in the same area if it’s suitable. Male rabbits will be especially attracted to an area if they see that there are multiple female rabbits around. Once you have both male and female rabbits, you’re likely to see babies running around soon, which will increase the rabbit population in your yard significantly.
Hills and Overhangs
To build their warrens, rabbits need the space to build them in. They often like to dig into hillsides or embankments, as the raised surface makes it easier to get deeper underground more quickly. This is much easier than digging down into the ground, and rabbits will favor these areas where it’s easier to create a deep burrow with less work. Once the rabbits have dug a warren to live in, they are pretty well set up in their area and will stay close to the entrances to stay safe.
What can I feed wild rabbits? Wild rabbits love the same foods as domestic rabbits: grass, hay, leafy greens like romaine lettuce, vegetables, and all types of fruits, especially berries.
How do I keep rabbits out of my garden? You can fence your garden in with a fence that is at least 3 feet tall and goes 6 inches into the ground, and you can include plants such as asparagus for vegetable gardens or geraniums for flower gardens to naturally repel rabbits.
Can I tame a wild rabbit? While it may be possible to tame a wild rabbit, keeping wild rabbits in your home is illegal in most places. You may befriend a wild rabbit outside by frequently offering it food and being calm and quiet around it.