Rabbits are a common pet in New Zealand households, but the wild rabbits are not as cute and cuddly.
In New Zealand, the wild rabbit, also known as the European rabbit, is a major pest and were the quickest colonising mammal to spread from its first introduction to our shore.
Where do wild rabbits live?
Wild rabbits are an occasional occurrence, but are a common widespread pest. Fortunately, wild rabbits are mainly absent in the northern region of New Zealand.
The difference between wild and domestic rabbits:
Rabbits are small mammals that only grow to 45cm in length. The wild rabbits, born and bred in the wild are generally a grey-brown colour, with pale belly fur. On the other hand, if you spot a rabbit that is black, ginger or white in colour, it may be an escaped domestic pet that is now a wild rabbit. As previously stated, rabbits are mass breeders, with female rabbits giving birth after 28-30 days and mating again only hours after giving birth. Owning a rabbit varies depending on which state or territory you reside in. To understand the local laws in regards to owning a rabbit, contact your local government body.
Why are wild rabbits pests?
Wild rabbits have been an issue since 1788 when they were first introduced in New Zealand. Feral rabbits cost the country anywhere between $6 million and $1 billion annually. Rabbits are a major pest to the agriculture and environmental industries as they graze on vegetative, crops and pastures, which prevent seedlings from regenerating. This reduces the harvest of the crops and increases competition for feed with livestock. Wild rabbits also negatively affect the environment due to their habit of ringbarking, grazing, browsing and preventing regeneration of seedlings. Their strong numbers is also a threat to at least 156 species. In a more urban setting, wild rabbits can damage the land in gardens, and the land under buildings, garages, and sheds. Wild rabbits also transmit a number of diseases which put other wild animals, pets, and humans at risk.
Do I need professional wild rabbit control?
Flick Anticimex has been providing solutions to the pest control needs of residential and commercial customer since 1918. Rabbit control is one of the many pest control treatments we provide. Flick Anticimex can help with your rabbit control issue through a number of control methods, usually cage traps and barrel traps. This may depend on your local branch and their available resources.
Tips for wild rabbit prevention:
Residents can contribute to rabbit control by assisting above ground. Rabbits like to make their homes in dense shrubbery and even in old machinery. To eliminate above-ground breeding areas, residents can:
- Burn log piles in their backyard, gardens and paddocks
- Remove garden weeds with the use of pesticide or by utilising a professional weed control service
- Removing old machinery in backyards, gardens or paddocks
For more information and to see whether your local branch provides wild rabbit control services, call us now at 0800 710 010!
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