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Topical Issues
August

Ants: flying ants are now causing many problems. Easy to control. Give us a call.

Wasps: Season now in full swing. The nests are about the size of a foot ball or more!

If you need help with these or any other pest problem Call us!

Rabbit Rabbits  

Size:

Adult rabbits are about 40cm long (head and body).
800- 2000g (average about 1700g).

Markings:  Grey/Brown or black fur, slightly lighter undersides.
Location: Farmland, golf courses, gardens, railway embankments, allotments etc.
Detection: Customer will report live sightings and droppings. Burrow entrances will be visible and gnawed vegetation along with runs will be seen.

Rabbits were first introduced to this country by the Normans as a food source, but escapes soon occurred and they quickly colonised the surrounding countryside. The fur of these animals was also a valuable by-product and was used extensively for clothing. Colour can vary slightly from light brown to grey through to black, but generally they are brown with long dark hairs giving a well camouflaged appearance. An adult will weigh in the region of 1. 7kg but larger specimens often occur. The bucks (males) have a broader head and heavier body than the does (females) and often show signs of fighting for dominance of a warren, with ragged and torn ears being common.

Breeding mainly takes place between January and July but can occur during any month, with young females capable of breeding at 3 -4 months of age. Gestation is 28 -30 days with an average litter size of 5. Females are capable of breeding 4 -5 times a year in ideal conditions. Mating and conception within 24 hours of parturition usually occurs with ovulation being induced by mating.

The young are born hairless with their eyes closed in a nest chamber called a 'stop' which is prepared by the doe. This can be within the main warren, but more commonly it is a short distance away, and is a short dead-ended tunnel. The entrance is blocked when the doe has completed feeding (which takes place at 24 hour intervals), to prevent predation. The stop contains dry grass and bracken and is lined with fur from the doe's underparts. Eyes of the young rabbits open at about 10 days and weaning takes place at 3- 4 weeks of age.

Rabbits are very clean animals and spend a great deal of their time grooming and cleaning their fur in much the same manner as cats. Defecation or urination never takes place within the burrow system -all faeces being deposited outside the warren with the average being 50 hard, round pellets in a 24 hour period. Rabbits have a techniques known as 'refection', where the softer encapsulated faeces are re-ingested to obtain the maximum nutrition.

Rabbits feed by grazing, taking any young shoots close to cover and nibbling them down squarely to IOmm or so above the ground. In cereal crops extensive grazing can occur and crop loss can run into many 1 ,000's. Grazing on vegetables or flowers in domestic gardens can also be infuriating. Rabbit damage is not limited to feeding, but their burrowing in areas such as golf courses, graveyards, railway embankments and farmland can cause much disruption.

Apart from the visual damage caused by grazing, a number of small scrapes may be noticed, where attempts to obtain roots have taken place. These signs, and large amounts of hard round droppings can easily be seen. Often, on well established routes to feeding areas runs are easily visible and they can be followed from the warren to a chosen feeding ground. Damage to trees or shrubs can also be seen in the winter months when food is short and this can be extensive to smooth barked species. Trees can be killed by this stripping of the bark unless a guard or fencing is erected for protection.


 

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