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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.


Eastern Cottontail-- Sylvilagus floridanuscottontail rabbit.
Blacktail Jackrabbit--Lepus californicus


  • Raise young in shallow ground nests called "forms."


  • Cottontails leave pea-sized droppings;cottontail tracks in the snow. Photo by Dallas Virchow
  • Tracks: Cottontail hind tracks are often paired. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow paired tracks commonly indicate either cottontail rabbit or tree squirrel;







  • Rabbit gnawings. Photo by Dallas VirchowRabbits gnawings Description: Patches of bark are gnawed off of 3/4 to 2 inch diam. twigs Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow
  •  small woody stems are clipped cleanly off at 45 degrees; common foods are garden vegetables, flowers, and shrubs.
  •  Cottontail clippings Description: Are recognized by a sharp 45 degree cut on small twigs from a few inches to 20 inches above ground. 45 degree angle clippings by rabbits. Photo by Dallas Virchow






  • girdled limbs. Photo by Dallas VirchowRabbit chewing girdles small limbs Description: This kills the limbs and may slow shrub growth. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow






  • Rabbits leave sharply clipped twigs but sometimes gnaw off bark Photo Credits: DavePurwin, Desert Wildlife Services, Inc.




Plants reported to have been eaten by cottontails

Understand that under extreme conditions, rabbits will eat almost any kind of vegetation. This list seeks to organize plants in order of preference. We welcome suggestions to add to the lists. Send comments to Rabbit Suggestions

  • Carrots--Nebraska
  • Dandelions-- Clay Ctr, Nebraska
  • Egg Plant (occassionally)--Icaban variety--Nebraska
  • Green beans--Nebraska
  • Lettuce-red leaf in June, Lincoln, NE
  • Lettuce--romaine --Nebraska
  • Lima Beans--Norfolk, NE
  • Purple leaf sandcherry bushes--Hebron, Nebraska
  • Radishes--Nebraska
  • Spinach in June, Lincoln, NE
  • Strawberries--Nebraska
  • Watermelon--Nebraska
  • Zinnia eaten in June, Lincoln, NE

Plants reported to be avoided by cottontails

  • Argula
  • Asparagas
  • Cucumbers
  • Daylilies
  • Galic
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • snow covered fence. Dallas VirchowAn 18-inch high fence can exclude cottontails from small areas. Fences need to be high and maintained through winter and early spring Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow
  • On individual plants, use 1-inch or less mesh;
  •  remove brushy and weedy habitat;
  • most domestic dogs can discourage rabbits;
  • Tree guards Description: These can be of plastics, papers, metals, nettings that wrap individual plants. Photo Ctree guards. Photo by Dallas Virchowredits: Dallas Virchow












  • commercial repellents must be applied often and (preferably) before high damage levels occur.



  • Trapping rabbits is NOT very effective, particularly during summer months where there is plenty of food to compete with your baited trap.
  • Use box traps (where legal); box traps near fences. Photo by Dave Purwinbox traps near fences or under brush work best as you can use the barrier to help funnel the rabbits toward the trap. Photo Credits: Dave Purwin, Desert Wildlife Services, Inc.
  • Plans to build your own box trap for rabbits. Courtesy of Missouri Game and Parks.


Rabbit box trap set Description: A "set" can be made by placing a trap under a bush or other cover or along a fence or natural path. Secure all traps and protect against heat and cold. Follow all trap laws. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

  • Baits: A quarter of a piece of apple works, but the apple turns brown fast and needs to be replaced daily to keep fresh.  Jack Ammerman, Advanced Wildlife Removal. Flint, Michigan USA




  • sport hunting can temporarily reduce general populations in rural areas;



Living With Rabbits



  • Rabbits are usually treated as game animals in most locales.


University Publications

Options for Rabbit Control-- Australian Government Rabbit Control

Cottontail Rabbit Damage Control

Controlling Rabbit Damage in the Landscape 

Rabbit Damage To Tree Plantings--Iowa State University Rabbit Control

Rabbits & Vole Mgt. in Orchards--University of Kentucky 

Rabbits--University of California


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