General Question

weeveeship's avatar

How should I deal with the rabbit? (see details)

Asked by weeveeship (4584points) June 11th, 2014

Recently, a rabbit has been appearing very often on my lawn. After some observation, I have discovered that it belongs to my neighbor. We spoke to the neighbor, letting her know that the rabbit has been appearing on our lawn, eating our grass, and tearing up the place, and we don’t like that.

Neighbor retrieved her rabbit and left. (so beyond a doubt, it is hers).

Shortly after our conversation with the neighbor, the rabbit returned. It is coming, eating our grass, and tearing up our lawn again. We could talk to the neighbor again, but we are not sure how useful that would be given that our last conversation with her was unfruitful. We could also take other measures to capture, trap, or otherwise remove the rabbit, but we want to be careful not to violate the law and not to offend our neighbor to the point that she retaliates.

One more thing, the neighbor’s English is not-so-good (to put it mildly), so having a lengthier discussion with her would not be useful given the language barrier. Plus, she didn’t do anything to fix the issue the last time we spoke to her.

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57 Answers

CocoSmith's avatar

Try to talk to your neighbor again and again and she may get tired of it and don’t allow the rabbit to eat your grass.

Seek's avatar

Oh, fabulous. They let their pet rabbit outside unattended in an unsecured yard? Are they asking for it to be eaten by a dog?

I’d capture the animal, and hand-deliver it to them with the simple words “Fix. Your. Fence.” And if it continues, call animal control and let them handle it. It doesn’t sound like they are particularly responsible pet owners.

LuckyGuy's avatar

One shot from kid’s BB gun and the rabbit will fly home. The BB will not break the skin and the rabbit will not return.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy I was thinking a 22 and dinner. Rabbit is good cooked correctly.

zenvelo's avatar

Braised lapin. And rabbit gloves for winter.

Really, I’d do what @Seek suggests, and let them know a coyote will get it if it is out. (I don’t care where you live, I bet there are coyotes nearby.)

elbanditoroso's avatar

Shotgun. At least that’s what worked on the cartoons.

Actually, it’s not just dogs to worry about – if you have local bears, mountain lions, or even wolves, the bunny is in some danger or becoming a meal.

gailcalled's avatar

Letting a pet rabbit run around outside is similar to allowing your hamster, guinea pig or that other small rodent pet (aha – the gerbil) outdoors for unsupervised recess. They will soon become someone’s lunch.

I would return the rabbit one more time to its owner. Write the “Fix your Fence” in block letters on a large card and present that to her along with the rabbit.

If it shows up a third time, deliver it quietly to animal control.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Borrow a friend’s dog for a few days? If you’re not willing to do anything to physically prevent the rabbit from entering your property, your only choice is to convince the neighbour that she should do so. Since you have tried this already, unsuccessfully, your odds are not looking good.

So, what else to try? You say there is a language barrier, but she seems to understand some English. My suggestion would be to indeed have a longer conversation with her. It will require patience, and perhaps several cups of tea. Ask why she wants the rabbit to roam free if it is in danger from local animals and other neighbours who might not be as understanding as you are. Try to make her see it from your point of view. And the rabbit’s.

Really, any other option is going to put you on terrible terms with her. I think it is worth the investment.

gailcalled's avatar

What’s your neighbor’s native language?

weeveeship's avatar

^ No idea, as I only hear her speak broken English.

Coloma's avatar

No shooting the bunny…you guys ^^^ are bad bunny killers!
Take a picture of the rabbit, blow it up and make a sign with a big red stripe running across it and post it on your lawn.
Domestic rabbits do not do well out running around and the odds of something happening to it are high. Yes, try to talk to the woman or, capture it and take it to Animal Control where it might be adopted and get a better home.

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ragingloli's avatar

Make it….
in your STOMACH!

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Animal shelter. You spoke with her once. Now you take it to people who will see to the safe handling of the animal.
Domestic rabbits are not good eating.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Capture the bunny. Then explain to your neighbor (with a translator if necessary) that you will not tolerate the rabbit on your lawn. Return the rabbit and if it reappears on your property, call the local pound or SPCA.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The BB gun will teach the bunny not to come in your yard. It won’t kill it but it will solve the problem even if your neighbor does not . Having to catch it and return it puts stress on you and the relationship with your neighbor.
One pop in the butt will do the job for you and no one will be the wiser. You might have to repeat this in a month or so but that is quick and easy.

Shotgun , .22 are all permanent solutions and will definitely strain relations. Also they make noise. A kid’s Daisy Red Ryder BB gun has all the power you need. It holds hundreds of shots and is powered by spring action from the cocking lever – no CO2 cartridges required.

I can lend you a coywolf. That will also take care of business. .

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Since the desire it to maintain a cordial relationship with the neighbor, how about checking with the local animal shelter to find out what should be done. Then talk to the rabbit’s owner again to let her know what will happen if she doesn’t keep it under control.

Out of curiosity, how much damage can one rabbit do to a yard?

LuckyGuy's avatar

They can do a shocking amount of damage in a very short time. They eat young plants that you have lovingly grown from seed. They will eat the vegetables that you have been watching grow all summer . A flower bed is also fair game.
What caused me to put my foot down? A rabbit ate a 3 year old Maple tree I had planted as a seedling when my son was born. I had been taking pictures of my son and the tree every few months as they both grew. The rabbit bit it right off at the ground as was chewing the sweet stem.
That is when I lost my patience and belatedly solved the problem .

That rabbit is now in bunny heaven enjoying its maple flavored last meal.

RocketGuy's avatar

How about an Airzooka?:
I used one of these to scare off a bunch of crows yesterday. Might work on rabbits.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy BB guns can aim and harm, a blast from the garden hose would be just as effective without risk of harming the bunny. It is a domestic bunny and it is not the bunnies fault it has a stupid owner. Besides, eating all kinds of grass and plants is more than likely going to cause serious digestive upset with the bunny and the odds of it dying from the rabbit runs or other issues are high.

Rabbits are very prone to digestive issues and are quite fragile in that area.

longgone's avatar

^ @Coloma nailed it. If all you want is for the rabbit to stay out of your yard, use water.

If I was a rabbit, I’d much rather live a short life in other people’s yards, feasting on their carrots, than be confined to a wire cage for seven miserable years.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The hose will never do it. Why?
1) You will never hit the bunny with it It will see you coming and it is faster than you.
2) If you do go out it will be your presence that scares it away. When you are not around the bunny will feel free to come back.

The Daisy Red Ryder BB gun is low power. I am not talking about pellet guns or CO2 powerlet jobs that can do serious damage. These do not pierce the skin. (I had the unpleasant experience of being hit in the fleshy part of the hand.)
A “thwack” on the butt that comes from out of the blue is much more effective long term than actually going outside and scaring it away.

Some problems need to be solved with bold actions, swiftly and decisively delivered..

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LuckyGuy Besides, GUNS, amirite?

Your argument is ridiculous. How could a rabbit “see you coming” with a hose? It’s not clever enough to connect a human standing several feet away holding a hose with the impending rush of water, until it gets hit. This isn’t the stealthy, vicious Monty Python rabbit, it’s a pet bunny. And anyway, so what if it is smart enough to be scared off by a person holding a hose? The whole point is to scare it off!

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Has no-one watched enough movies to learn how to soak someone(thing) without having to be in view? I have hose connections in back of my house, in front, and in the basement (as washer connections are the same. I have three sources I can be use to soak “whatever” around my yard without being seen.
(curtsies, lots of curtsies)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I don’t know about you but I would have to open the back door, go outside, turn on the water tap, drag the hose to within bunny range, and then spray. He’d be gone. until you are out of sight and then he’d rreturn.
Are you willing to do that EVERY time you see the bunny in your yard? Are you going to keep looking outside multiple times per hour to make sure Peter in not munching on your garden? Will you check it every 15–30 minutes? Because that is all Mr Nibbles needs to wipe it out. Are you going to stand out there all day hose in hand? I didn’t think so.
A BB to the butt would be a good, memorable lesson. I am not talking about using a .22 or shotgun. That would upset the neighbors.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy You could invite the neighbors to dinner.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers Haha, I know. Not to mention that if you have a garden worth protecting from a rabbit… your hose can probably reach it easily.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, I cannot abide by bunny abuse. I totally dig you @LuckyGuy , you know that, but, no BB bunny ‘buse.

gailcalled's avatar

Can a domesticated pet female rabbit mate with one of the wild cottontails who are everywhere at this time of year? Mrs. non-English-speaking neighbor may find herself a grandmother one of these days.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Highly unlikely. Another thing is a disease called Myxomatosis, fatal to all bunnies wild or otherwise. I lost a pet rabbit to this in the 90’s. It’s a hard bunny life.

One way or another that bunny is not long for this world in its current conditions.

longgone's avatar

@LuckyGuy “Are you going to keep looking outside multiple times per hour to make sure Peter in not munching on your garden? Will you check it every 15–30 minutes? Because that is all Mr Nibbles needs to wipe it out. Are you going to stand out there all day hose in hand?”

Replace the word “hose” with “gun”, and all the same questions apply to your scenario.

BTW – I’d use a large water gun. Precise, memorable and at immediate disposal.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@longgone You can’t simply replace “BB gun” and “hose” in my question. They are totally different.. With the BB gun you only have to see the bunny once. When you do, you can pop him in the butt at a longer distance, while he is munching undisturbed. You will likely only have to do it once. He will learn not to come back. The hose takes much more effort and gives him a warning. He will move away when you approach and will return as soon as you leave.

By the way, we have wild rabbits here and from my experience it is impossible to get closer than about 10 yards before they take off. They are, dare I say it, “Quick as a bunny” and bolt away. However, they are nowhere near as quick as a metal BB from a Daisy, or a 6mm plastic BB from an Airsoft.

longgone's avatar

^ Ah, well. Even if I had to make more of an effort, I’d still use water. I won’t hurt an animal just because of its owners stupidity. Depending on the body part, being shot with a BB gun can hurt like hell – more so if one happens to be a small rodent.

Coloma's avatar

@longgone I agree, and also, IF a BB leaves a wound, no matter how small, then the flies get in, lay eggs in the wound site and cause a horrible death. Anyone that has had any kind of farmy animal, rabbits, chickens, horses, any animal, knows what ” Fly strike” is and it is not pretty. So then the poor thing dies being consumed by maggots from it;s wound.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Just for the record when I was a kid and was hit in the hand with a BB from my friend’s Daisy it did not break the skin at all. It stung. I only had a red mark. And I did not have fur!
The 6mm Airsoft guns with plastic BBs are even less dangerous.

Out of curiosity, for those of you without BB guns, how do you scare the squirrels away from your bird feeders, or the House sparrows from killing the bluebirds in the bluebird boxes you just put out, or the neighbor’s dog from harassing the tortoise that is getting ready to lay eggs n the garden, or the chipmunks that are on the roof of the house and are looking for a way in to the attic. (These are all potential uses for the Daisy.)
Do you just ignore it all?

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy I had Starlings nest in a bluebird box once and just let them be. I would not pitch the eggs or kill the nestlings.
I believe in just letting nature takes it’s course and when you live in a high wildlife traffic zone you have to expect some issues. The only thing I have ever considered shooting was one, problem Coyote in my area a few years ago. Even then, it was my responsibility to keep my cats and chickens safe by proper housing.

Peoples dogs running loose is entirely different and I would absolutely take whatever measures needed to get rid of a problem dog, but since I do not keep firearms of any kind it would have to be done legally, take the dog to animal control, file charges against the owner for any damages. It is legal to shoot dogs in my county for worrying and harassing livestock, but, dogs aside, when we choose to live in a wildlife area managing things just comes with the territory, which belonged to the animals first.

LuckyGuy's avatar

House sparrows are an extremely aggressive invasive species that are taking over in this area. I have bluebird boxes and am trying to help them get reestablished in this area After a lull of a few years Bluebird and other song bird nests were decimated by squirrels but that situation is now under control.
It makes me sick to see a HOSP perch at the opening of a box and then peck the bluebirds to death while they are sitting on their eggs in the nest. I offer a little protection. It works.

We are definitely in a high wildlife traffic zone. After all, I live next to a wildlife management area, next to Lake Ontario. We are the end of the line for all kinds of migrating and wandering critters. And of course this is where nearby suburban residents (illegally) dump the pests they catch in their HavAHart 1025 traps: squirrels, chipmunks, cats, mice, raccoons, skunk, rabbits. Heck, even the State DEC relocated some coyote here.

If we did not actively control the situation every tractor, car, truck, motorcycle in the barn or garage would have some critter living in it and/or chewing on the wires.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Hey, everyones situation is different. I’m not being difficult, just sharing my perspectives. I had 2 broods of Bluebirds and a family of Titmice hatch out of my BB boxes then the Starlings moved in. I figured everyone got a home that year.
Your issues with animals being dumped across the way are a PITA I am sure.

longgone's avatar

@LuckyGuy There is no one answer. Some of your examples I would ignore. Others I would solve, without a BB gun. I’m sure you know all of them could be solved without resorting to bullets. The quickest solution isn’t necessarily the best one. If it was, I’d buy a cannon ;)

I don’t like how carelessly people use BB guns. Those things regularly break the skin, I doubt the rabbit’s fur would offer much protection and they can do serious damage if you hit an eye/jaw/lung/etc. A google search just informed me they kill four Americans a year. Wonderfully, it’s kids who most often pull the trigger.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@longgone All BB guns are not the same. There are high powered devices, like Gamo and Whisper that fire the BBs at speeds up to 1200 ft/sec, similar to a .22. They shoot fast, far, and are lethal. Those can definitely injure or kill.

The kid’s spring loaded Daisy I recommended only shoots at 200 ft./sec (if you are lucky) . The energy in that shot is ⅓6 the energy of the Gamo. The $20, AA battery operated kid’s Airsoft guns are at such low power you can cup your hand over the barrel and fire a couple of seconds worth of automatic fire and you will end up holding about 10 plastic BBs with no mark at all.
When I lived overseas in a climate with large cockroaches (gokiburi) and high ceilings we used those guns in the house to get the roaches that were out of reach on the ceiling. It worked perfectly and did not damage the walls or ceiling.

They are tools. There is the right tool for the right job. Also, all tools can be misused or abused.

And no matter what the tool, someone will end up in the emergency room with one stuck up their butt.

longgone's avatar

All BB guns are not the same, but we are discussing all BB guns, so my general point stands.

It seems to me that, if one shot will scare the rabbit away effectively, it must cause quite a bit of pain. That same gun aimed at an eye, and I pity the rabbit. To me, that’s unnecessary…

Thank you for the slightly terrifying link ;)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Slightly terrifying indeed. The BB is so fast it breaks the sound barrier! And the Gamos can be purchased without a permit, license, or background check!
Also note they are Made in Spain and are sold all over Europe to people who don’t have or are not permitted to own “real” rifles. Interesting.

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hearkat's avatar

[Mod Says] please remember that this post is in the General section, so comments must relate to the OP’s problem with their neighbour’s pet bunny.

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weeveeship's avatar

The bunny no longer shows up at my lawn. I do not know what happened to it, though I have my theories. (For the record, I didn’t do anything to it. It just disappeared on its own.)

Thanks for all your responses.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Egh I have a rabbit problem now. Not a pet rabbit, a wild one. At first I tried sprayin it with a hose like some suggested in this thread (knowing full well it wouldn’t work, it didn’t) recently I’ve been letting my cat out. He chased the rabbit away three times now, once I think he got a good scratch in on the rabbit. Still the fucker comes back to eat my garden >_<

Coloma's avatar

@El_Cadejo Ya gotta outsmart the rabbit, after all your brain outweighs his entire body right? haha
Spread some nice Timothy hay or Oat Hay or Alfalfa all around the garden. Bunny buffet and fertilized mulch for you next year. :-)
Ya gotta think out of the garden. Now to the local feed store for hay. lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

I almost got an incredible shot out of it too. Shame the shutter speed was too low.

Coloma's avatar

@El_Cadejo Haha…that’s great!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Coloma It was actually pretty amazing to watch slowed down. The rabbit had amazing agility and dodged my cats attack by running on it’s two hind legs.

Coloma's avatar

—@El_Cadejo Yes, you can see the bunnys hind toes all spread out and the cat is sooooo close!
It reminds me of when I called a Coyote off my cats tail, literally, a few years ago. No photo but it’s fang grazed her hip and just razored off a little patch of fur, no wound, no bleeding just a bald spot. Amazing!

snowberry's avatar

In the long run it sounds easier to buy enough rabbit fencing to do your whole yard. While you’re trying to outwit this varmint, it’s possibly procreating at a rabbit’s pace!

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