Herbivory by eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus) can be the source of significant agricultural, nursery, and managed landscape damage. Where cottontails cannot be managed by lethal means or where trap and release is infeasible, repellents may be a reasonable alternative. We tested 8 different repellent formulations (Bobbex Deer Repellent® Canadian formulation concentrate, Bobbex Deer Repellent® Canadian ready-to-use (RTU), Bobbex-R Animal Repellent® concentrate, Bonide Repels All® concentrate, Bonide Deer & Rabbit Repellent® concentrate, Liquid Fence® Deer & Rabbit Repellent concentrate, Plantskydd® soluble powder, and Rabbit Stopper® RTU) on Johnny jump-ups (Viola tricolor), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Three wild, eastern cottontails were trapped and translocated to a 107 m2 enclosure, resulting in a relative density of 280 cottontails/ha. After 2 weeks exposure to cottontails, remaining plant material was removed, dried, and weighed. Difference between dried plant mass of treated and untreated vegetation was determined. Repellent effectiveness was defined as the sum of the product of caloric demand rank and rank of dry mass difference for each repellent. Physical exclusion performed the best, followed by Plantskydd, Bobbex-R, Bobbex Deer Repellent Canada RTU, Bobbex Deer Repellent Canada Concentrate, Bonide Repels All, Rabbit Stopper, Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, and then Bonide Deer & Rabbit Repellent. Our results show that repellent usage can be a practical solution for deterring rabbit herbivory.
Williams, Scott C. and Short, Michael R.
"Evaluation of eight repellents in deterring eastern cottontail herbivory in Connecticut,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 8
, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol8/iss1/12