University of Maryland Extension

Rabbits

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wild rabbit closeup

The wild rabbit in Maryland is the Eastern Cottontail. Rabbits are abundant in both rural and suburban areas. They tend to concentrate around shrubs, overgrown fence rows, or the edge of a field. They rarely are found in dense woodlands or in open grassland. Cottontails generally spend their entire lives in an area of 10 acres or less. They relocate only because of a lack of food or cover. Wild rabbits live about 15 months and raise 3 litters in a year with an average of 6 young.

Rabbits can devour a flower or vegetable garden eating entire rows of peas, beans, lettuce or beets. They do not seem to like corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. Their chewing can severely damage the stems and trunks of trees and shrubs.

A few rabbits nibbling here and there is usually no problem, but when control is required, a fence around the garden is the best investment. A simple 2-foot chicken wire fence will work. However, the bottom of the fence must be secured to the ground or buried a few inches in the ground. Protect the stems of trees and shrubs with cylinders of hardware cloth 18 inches high. Several types of odor and taste repellents are also available on the market. Removal of excessive vegetation cover can also reduce the available habitat.
Eastern cottontail
The wild rabbit in Maryland is the Eastern Cottontail. Rabbits are abundant in both rural and suburban areas.

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