Rabbits are cute and fuzzy, but they can be a real nuisance in your backyard.
If you have ever had to deal with rabbits eating your plants, chewing on your low voltage wires, or puncturing your drip irrigation water lines then this article is for you!
The methods listed below are proven ways to deter rabbits from coming into your backyard. It’s time for those rabbits to realize they are not welcome here anymore!
How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Yard or Garden
We are going to look at three main categories for keeping rabbits out of your lawn and garden: scent and taste deterrents, scare tactics, and habitat-related actions.
Rabbit Scent and Taste Deterrents
A most common way for keeping rabbits away is using scents and tastes that rabbits dislike. The list below provides several deterrents for you to try out.
Chili Pepper / Powdered Red Pepper
A popular way of keeping rabbits away is spreading cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your garden bed. This can also be used around the perimeter of your deck where rabbits like to live. Check out my list of homemade rabbit repellents for some easy recipes with red pepper and cayenne pepper.
Rabbits dislike the smell of powdered peppers because it irritates their noses. This makes it great for protecting plants from rabbits.
Another way to use chili pepper is to make an herbal paste or spray that you can apply directly on leaves as well as stems with some water. The paste will start drying up in about 30 minutes.
Human and Pet Hair Rabit Deterrent
If you have a pet then you finally have a solution to keeping rabbits away. Simply collect your pet’s hair and spread it around the perimeter of your garden bed or other areas rabbits are gathering.
Pet fur is also effective because it smells bad to rabbits. Pet fur makes rabbits believe a predator is in the area. Rabbits don’t want to stick around too long if they think they could be attacked.
Human hair can also be a deterrent to rabbits. Clean up your hairbrushes around the house and scatter the hair around the yard so that it covers any plants that are sensitive to rabbit damage. This trick works because rabbits have an aversion toward humans.
Commercial Rabbit Deterrents
Go to any home improvement store or garden center and you will find rabbit repellents that can be used in your yard or garden.
These rabbit deterrents work by scaring rabbits with an unpleasant odor or taste. The most common brands of rabbit repellent products are Nature’s Mace, TomCat, Liquid Fence, and Rabbit Scram.
One downside to some of the more effective commercial products is the odor. The smell can be overpowering and just as bad as the rabbits themselves.
People that are sensitive to smells would likely prefer a less offensive method of repelling rabbits from your yard or garden.
A lesser-known rabbit repellent is soap shavings. The most popular brands of soap to use are Ivory and Irish Springs, but other brands will do the trick. Check out my complete guide on how to use Ivory soap to keep rabbits away.
The scent from these products is less offensive than other commercial rabbit deterrents. You can’t really smell the soap shavings and even if you do, the smell is a refreshing and clean scent.
Just scatter a handful of soap shavings around your yard or garden and you should be good to go!
If they are really attacking an area, then you can put the soap directly on the plants. The scent will discourage them from coming back for more.
Fox or coyote urine is another great rabbit deterrent. Rabbits what to feel safe and secure. Having predator urine in your backyard will make them feel on edge all the time.
Rabbits don’t want to come back and hang out when they feel like predators are always watching.
This is a more extreme form of rabbit deterrent because it’s strong and can have an offensive smell to humans. But this high-quality repellent really packs a punch against rabbits! This is best used in areas further away from the house or garden that you want to protect.
You can buy predator urine in the hunting area of a sporting goods store. They typically come in small bottles in a spray nozzle on top.
If you are a coffee drinker then you should definitely try this next tip. Coffee grounds are a great natural way to deter rabbits from your garden. The coffee smell is very strong and the taste of it does not appeal to them.
There’s no need for you to throw away your used coffee grounds. Simply scatter your coffee grounds around the plants, flowers, and trees in your backyard.
A side benefit is that coffee grounds can also help your plants grow, as they are a great natural fertilizer.
Scare Tactics to Deter Rabbits
If scent and taste deterrents don’t work to keep rabbits out of your yard then you need to up your game with scare tactics. They are not expensive and can be a lot of fun.
Motion Activated Repellents
A common product to scare away rabbits and other animals is a motion-activated sprinkler. Motion-activated sprinklers will turn on when rabbits come near the monitored area, dousing them with water.
A downside of using motion-activated sprinklers is that they will need to be monitored and fitted with fresh batteries. You also have to run a water hose to the area that you want motion-activated sprinklers.
Some people like this product because they are inexpensive and easy to install. Others dislike them for their inconsistency because at times the rabbits just hop by without triggering the motion sensor.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s also not fun to walk into your yard and accidentally trigger the sensor and ending up getting soaked yourself.
That said, I was able to deter rabbits from a square foot garden with this device until the batteries ran out.
Ultrasonic Rabbit Repeller
Another device to scare rabbits is an ultrasonic sound device. Ultrasonic repellers use high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans but audible to rabbits.
These devices function by emitting an annoying noise when a rabbit enters the area and then stops once it leaves.
Many ultrasonic repellers are powered with a small solar panel so you can set it up once and you good for the entire season.
These devices are also more affordable and than motion sensor sprinklers and don’t require you to stretch a garden hose across the yard.
Reflectors to Scare Rabbits
Another trick people use to keep rabbits away is to use reflectors. These are simple devices that reflect the sunlight or the reflection of the rabbit itself.
Reflectors are more common in deterring birds but some backyard enthusiasts have success in scaring away rabbits too.
A common DIY approach to reflectors is simply filling a glass jar with water and placing it where the rabbits like to eat.
Scare Rabbits with Your Dog
If you have a dog then can enlist their help to deter rabbits. Rabbits are timid creatures and the presence of a dog or even just their scent can keep them away from your garden.
Dogs are very effective in deterring rabbits in fenced-in yards where the dog is free to come and go.
However, I like to “release the hounds” when I notice a rabbit exploring my backyard just to remind them that they aren’t welcome here.
Other Rabbit Deterrents
Here are a few more tips and tactics to keep rabbits out of your backyard or garden.
Keep Your Lawn and Garden Clean
The first tip to keep rabbits out of your lawn is to keep it clean and trim. Rabbits will choose an unkempt lawn over a lawn that is well-tended because they like the protection of high grass.
Keeping your lawn and garden free from weeds also removes a food source for the rabbits.
Long story short, clean up your lawn or garden problems before fighting your rabbit problems.
Eliminate Rabbit Habitats
The second tip is to eliminate any prime rabbit habitats in your yard. Rabbits like to live in piles of wood or other debris near your home.
They also like to make nests in or near brush piles, tall grasses, and ivy patches. Clean up all of the debris around your house so that there are no more hiding spots for rabbits.
Also, don’t forget about your deck. Rabbits love to live under your deck or in the space between your deck and house. You can seal off any gaps where rabbits could get underneath by using a heavy wire mesh.
If you can’t seal off your deck then you should use other scent and smell deterrents listed above because this is an area the rabbits love.
Use Fencing / Chicken Wire
Fencing and chicken wire is tried and true approach to keep rabbits out of an area. This is especially useful in areas such as raised bed gardens.
The upside to using chicken wire is it does a great job at keeping out rabbits, but the downside of this method is that it doesn’t look very good. I prefer to use chicken wire to keep rabbits out of small areas, but I look for other methods for larger areas.
Trap and Relocate
If all else fails, then you can always trap and relocate the rabbits. The upside to trapping and relocating is that you’ll never have to worry about the rabbits coming back.
You can buy small metal traps at any local lawn and garden center in your area. They come in various sizes and are very affordable.
Rabbit traps work by using a trip plate that triggers the release of the trap door. You attract rabbits into the trap with the food of your choice. The best foods to use in rabbit traps are carrots, lettuce, or celery. Place the food on one end of the trap and then sit back patiently while waiting for a rabbit to trigger the release door.
If possible, try to use natural barriers such as shrubs or holes in fences for trapping rabbits. This will help prevent other animals from entering your traps.
When you capture the rabbit, cover the trap with an old towel to calm its nerves. Then find a place a few miles away to relocate it away from your home.
Most areas allow you to trap and relocate nuisance animals without a license. However, you should always check your local laws before trapping any animal.
Common Rabbit Deterrents that Don’t Work
Knowing what doesn’t work to deter rabbits can be just as important as knowing what does work. You don’t want to waste your time and money only to find a rabbit nibbling on your new flowers the next day.
The following methods are not effective for deterring rabbits:
- Plastic Fencing / Mesh – Attempting to block their pathways into your yard, garden, or under your deck with plastic mesh will fail. Rabbits will chew through the mesh in minutes.
- Fake Snakes – Fakes snakes will deter a rabbit for a couple of days, but they will eventually come back. Once they figure out the threat isn’t real they will ignore it and start enjoying your fresh plants again. I thought I was a genius when this worked perfectly in my square foot garden for a few days. However, I quickly found out that the rabbits were not as dumb as I thought.
- Marigolds – Just about every list of rabbit deterrents includes Marigold flowers. What people don’t realize is that many rabbits will eat the flowers and leaves of a Marigold. The only part they dislike is the stem. I have seen many rabbits enjoy the Marigolds in our backyard landscaping.
Other Questions – Backyard Rabbits
What are some common signs of rabbits?
Other than nibbled plants and flowers, the most common signs of rabbits are their droppings. They usually look like long, cylindrical pellets that can be found on the ground or in areas they have been digging for food. Digging is also a sign because it’s how rabbits search for food and make new burrows to live in.
Why would you keep rabbits away?
There are many reasons to keep rabbits away. They can chew through low voltage wires and destroy the wiring. They may also eat your plants and flowers or dig holes in your yard.
Why are rabbits coming into my yard?
Rabbits can enter your yard for many reasons. They may find food and water sources, they could be using it as a resting place to hide from predators or the elements, or they might just think that there’s no threat in the area and come freely into your backyard.
How to keep rabbits out of my garden?
The best way to keep rabbits out of your garden is by fencing it off. You can also use a repellent, but be careful not to put something poisonous around that could hurt other animals or humans if they ate them.
You’ve just read over 12 ways to deter rabbits from your yard and garden. This is an ever-growing list of how to keep rabbits out of your yard.
Many of the methods are quite simple, like spreading scents the rabbits don’t enjoy or using motion-activated deterrents and other scare tactics. Other methods require more work but can be worth it in the long run if you have enough patience.
Overall, I would say that the best way to keep rabbits from your backyard is to experiment with a variety of the options mentioned above. Once you find something that works then stick with it until the rabbits start to catch on.
Our battle with rabbits is never-ending. They are persistent in their pursuit of fresh food and we will have to constantly keep up with new strategies to keep them away.
I hope this post helped you get started on your quest in deterring those pesky rabbits from your yard. Let me know what worked for you!
Have any other tips on how to get rid of rabbits? Please share them below in the comments section.