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Gardening in New Jersey: Invasion of the Bunnies

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Rabbit in the gardenIf you plant a vegetable garden and you live in New Jersey, this news may concern you. Conditions are apparently perfect (a mild winter and enough spring rain to encourage a lot of vegetable growth) for an increased number of baby bunnies (link free for next 14 days only) this season.

There are an average of five bunnies in each litter, and the gestation period is just 25 to 31 days long. And “we’re seeing the second generation litters right now,” said Peter Hibbard, a Toms River biology teacher whose been working as a volunteer rabbit rescuer for more than 40 years…

The bunny population is also flourishing because natural predators — foxes and coyotes — are absent in many suburban settings where development has driven them out, said Weidman. He said occasionally a dog or cat might go after a rabbit but it is very infrequent.

The article provides some tips for keeping rabbits out of your yard to protect your property.

* Fencing your yard is the best way to keep the rabbits out.
* Keep your lawn cut short so the animals can’t build nests.
* If you disturb the nest and you believe the parents have abandoned the babies, contact rehabilitators.

Most nests go undetected, he said, adding it’s a common misconception that a nest is dug into the ground. It’s nothing more than a small indentation in the earth, lined with rabbit fur. Within six weeks, the babies are gone, he said.

Here are 10 steps for protecting your garden from rabbits naturally, without using poison. This article also includes some “homeopathic” suggestions from readers, including sprinkling human hair or shavings from strong soap around the garden.

However, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona says don’t bother with human hair, it doesn’t work.

What is tried and true when it comes to keeping rabbits out of the garden is a physical barrier. Anything strong enough and high enough to keep rabbits from punching through or jumping over will work.

A fence that extends well into the ground, seems to be the best solution. In general, perhaps the real answer is to co-exist with the animals. The university suggests planting enough food for your family as well as the furry visitors, but with the “bunny boom” in New Jersey, this just encourages overpopulation.

Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published August 20, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar henry

Funny you bring this subject up. My neighbors rabbit spends a substantial amount of time in my back yard (I guess they got tired of keeping it) and in my garden every now and then.

Usually I don’t mind it hanging out and eating my grass, but whenever it gets in my garden I start thinking if there are any websites that sell traps or snares…

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avatar mapgirl

I saw a record 5 bunnies on an evening walk with my dad up in suburban Philly about a month ago. They were big brown hares too. I thought it was cool to see so many since my mom no longer keeps a full garden of tomatoes anymore. They used to eat them all up when I was a kid!

Yay! Bunnies! (Go to CuteOverload.com to see more. So cute!)

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