While we love our shop bunny, Mr. Velvetini, we aren’t always so fond of his wild cousins. Wild rabbits can wreak havoc on our gardens and cause gardeners no end of frustration and aggravation. Rabbit damage is particularly severe during drought stress and natural population cycles.
Rabbits, along with other wild animals and birds, experience stress when the landscape suffers from drought, as we are undergoing in southeastern Wisconsin in the summer of 2021. Water is necessary for life, and wild rabbits receive much of theirs from the moisture in the greens that they eat. When drought decimates leafy greens, animals turn to the gardens and landscapes with irrigation.
Natural Population Cycles
Some wild animals, including our native Eastern Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus), have natural population cycles. Rabbit populations tend to run in roughly ten-year cycles, and it seems that we’re near the peak of that cycle.