Monday, June 07, 2010

Peter, Peter, You Naughty Rabbit

Many of us are saying these words right now.  Beatrix Potter knew, as Peter was her pet rabbit before she wrote all of those charming stories about ducks, squirrels, geese and rabbits.

Rabbits are very timid animals, they like to live in burrows digging intricate tunnels called warrens that interconnect to nurseries called stops.  Rabbits have very good hearing and ears that turn in every direction, with great eyesight and a sense of impending danger.  They do not drink water like other animals, but they split plants and suck out moisture.  They do chew plants, bark, vegetables, etc., and regrow their teeth if whittled down on the bark of bushes or trees.

Rabbits can have up to eighteen babies at a time and reproduce many times throughout the year.  I learned today that the babies are vorciferous and will eat anything even though the smell is bad.  I was told that the taste needs to be also bad to discourage the babies.

I am using a product that seems to keep the rabbits controlled, but I noticed my new baby has eaten everthing down to the ground, asters, roses, hosta, phlox, etc.  So, in addition to my granular, I bought a taste bad spray for the babies!

I don't see any rabbits running in a zig zag, standing like a statue, or thumping their back feet when I appear in the garden (all things they are supposed to do when danger is near).  They are obviously not afraid of me!

P.S. I have included some photos of plants the rabbits don't seem to like yet!


Jim Groble said...

Our rabbits are not afraid of us either. Oh, they'll get out of the way, but they never run away. I don't want to do the math to figure out how many rabbits live in our yard. I thought that feeding them might, just might steer them away from anything and everything we planted. Asyou saw in my last post, it doesn't work. They aren't afraid of the dogs either. jim

LC said...

Ah... the bane of my existence! Larry

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I agree Jim, I have a terrier and they are not the least bit afraid of him. I do not remember them being this bad last year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

I bet they have a royal feast in your garden, Larry.


joey said...

Oh yes, rabbits are rascals, Eileen! They love to nest here in my garden too ... and dine on the delicacies ... I plant lots of parsley, hoping to deter them with Beatrix Potter's soporific effect!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I have all of those veggies and herbs, but they don't seem to want them. They would rather eat my roses.


rambleonrose said...

I am fortunate that we don't have a large rabbit population around here, but I think something has been mowing down my hyacinth bean seedlings. I know there's at least one rabbit nearby, but of course it could be the squirrels...

Gatsbys Gardens said...

They ate my Hyacinth Bean plants to the ground.


Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Eileen,
I came here after seeing your comment on Tootsie's post because I liked the name of your blog. It sounds like we have some things in common.

I am in Nebraska, and the rabbit damage is worse here than normal, too. I always plant extra lettuce, because I know they love it. Now that I'm also gardening across the street, I even plant extra romaine, because I know it's their favorite. I even planted lots of peas, thinking they wouldn't eat all of them, but I don't know if I'm going to get a crop or not.

I've seen them in my flower beds in the past, but the damage was never noticeable. This year, they are eating plants clear to the stems.

Now that I read your post, I'm realizing it's the bunnies doing that kind of damage. Some of the plants are coming out of it, though. My leadplant actually is looking very good. If they hadn't eaten it down, it would be one of the "weeping" plants that I also have, due to all the rain we've had.

I've used a stinky product and a pepper spray one. I need to reuse them, since it's rained so much. I'm also in the process of dismantling the shelter I thought I was making for butterflies, but is being used by the rabbits, maybe more than one family. I may keep some of the shelter, but plan to discourage future bunny warrens in that location.

Have fun in Wisconsin!