Rabbits are one of the UK's most familiar mammals.Â What many people don't realise is that rabbits are not a native to the UK. Rabbits were brought to the UK 900 years ago from France by the Normans. They were used as an important source of meat and fur. Many of these escaped and thrived, leading to the large populations we see today. Adult rabbits can grow up to 40cm long and weigh between 1.2kg and 2kg. A male rabbit is called a buck and a female rabbit is called a doe. Rabbits are resourceful and thrive in both rural and urban areas. They live in underground burrows and a group of burrows is called a warren. Rabbitsfeed on any available vegetation including grasses, growing trees, tree bark, small herbs, garden plants and agricultural crops.
The breeding season runs from January to late summer They are prolific breeders and one adult female can produce up tp 7 litters of 3-7 young in one year. These young are then able to start reproducing at just a few months old. This high rate of reproduction is one of their main reasons for theirsuccess.
Rabbits are a major pest species in the UK with more and more habitats falling victim to the destruction that they cause. It is estimated that rabbits cost the UK agricultural industry £100 million a year through crop damage. Burrowing rabbits also pose a threat to both livestock and horses alike, animals breaking legs in rabbit holes is not uncommon. Without a doubt they are the number one pest species for farmers. Hundreds of thousands pounds worth of damage in the forestry, plantations and orchards industries is also caused by rabbit population. Ring barking, which is caused by rabbits gnawing the whole way around the base of a tree, is the most common problem. When a tree has it's lower bark completely removed it will die. Tree guards can help to a degree but rabbits often chew through them causing destruction and the tree to eventually die.
Due to being so resourceful and such prolific breeders rabbits are thriving in urban and industrial areas. Rabbits tunnelling under paths, roadways and buildings can cause weakness and damage to the structures Rabbits can cause fires and flooding due to their chewing and digging and is very much a health and safety issue. Rabbits cause all sorts of problems in gardens, they eat plants and flowers and dig scrapes in search of young shoots. Their burrows also risk injury to both humans and pets Rabbits will often reside under decking, garden sheds and even houses, this could potentially cause issues such as subsidence and the risk of fire due to chewing electrical wires. Wild rabbits can also pass on diseases to pet rabbits.
Rabbit numbers can increase dramatically if not controlled It is highly advisable that a professional pest control company is contacted and the correct advice sought. Here at Sykes Pest Control our technicians are fully trained and knowledgeable and follow the correct procedures in controlling rabbit populations.