Gardeners know that rabbits are notorious pests that will eat anything they can get their little teeth on. They have sensitive noses, which means that you can use certain smells to keep them out of your garden. Smells that rabbits hate include fox and coyote urine, chili, garlic and vinegar.
Here are 11 smells that you can use to keep rabbits out of your yard and garden.
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1. Fox Urine
The reason why rabbits have such sensitive noses is so they can protect themselves from danger, including predators. Foxes naturally hunt rabbits in the wild, so rabbits will give anything that smells like a fox a wide berth.
Many garden shops and online retailers sell fox urine in a bottle which you can spray around your yard to repel.
2. Coyote Urine
You can also use the urine of another predator, such as a coyote. Coyotes are also natural rabbit predators so the smell of their urine will make the rabbits keep away. Other common rabbit predators are lynx and bobcats. However, be warned that these smells are pretty strong and might repel you, not just rabbit visitors, from your yard.
Rabbits are not lovers of spicy food by any means. Rabbits hate the smell of chili because it contains capsaicin, a fiery compound that gives food a spicy flavor. Capsaicin is an irritant to rabbits.
To repel rabbits using the smell of chili, sprinkle some chili powder around your yard or use a hot sauce like Tabasco. You can also use premixed chili spray.
Garlic is another smell that rabbits hate. The strong odor is far too much for their sensitive noses. Sprinkle some garlic powder from your pantry around the edges of your yard, crush up fresh garlic cloves, or even plant some garlic bulbs in your garden for a natural rabbit repellent.
Vinegar has a strong smell that is far too much for many people and one that rabbits hate too. Rabbits are repelled by strong odors, including potent vinegar, making it an easy pantry rabbit repellent.
Create a diluted vinegar solution by mixing white vinegar with water and spraying it around your yard. Diluting the vinegar prevents it from damaging the plants it touches but makes the solution still strong enough to repel pesky rabbits.
Have you ever wrinkled your nose at the smell of rotten eggs? You’re not alone. Sulfur, which smells like rotten eggs, is highly repellent to rabbits as well. You can buy sulfur powder online and toss it around your yard, which will hopefully deter any rabbits from setting up shop in your garden.
Be careful, as sulfur powder is not safe for other animals. Avoid using it in areas where your pet dog or cat can access as it can have negative health consequences.
Rabbits hate the smell of eggs. As eggs rot and break down, the proteins in their structure also break down. Globulin becomes hydrogen sulfide, which is a sulfur compound, and keratin produces another sulfur-rich compound called cysteine.
Breaking raw eggs around the edge of your property will produce a strong sulfur-like smell without needing to buy sulfur.
Although the rich smell of coffee may help you perk up in the morning, it will send rabbits running in the other direction. Coffee is also effective at repelling other pests, such as insects.
Unlike many of the other smells on this list, it does all that without making the yard too smelly for humans to be in it. Coffee grounds are also a great compostable fertilizer, so add them to your compost or sprinkle them around your property or garden beds for a more effective repellant.
9. Blood Meal
Besides the smell of predator urine, rabbits are also hate the smell of blood. Blood meal is made from dried blood, which signals to a rabbit that something bad has happened in that location and it is time to get away.
As an added bonus, blood meal is a great fertilizer for plants, so it is doubly effective if you are keeping rabbits away from a garden.
As you’ve probably noticed, rabbits hate the smell of potent herbs and alliums used in cooking. Besides garlic, chives are a great rabbit deterrent. You can plant beds of chives around the edges of your property or chop up the herbs and sprinkle them around the property.
11. Fragrant Flowers
Certain flowers that smell very sweet to humans actually smell awful to rabbits. For example, lavender has a scent that is too strong for them and actually irritates their bodies, so planting a bed is a great way to beautify your garden and keep rabbits out. Other flowers that rabbits dislike are geraniums, foxgloves, and wax begonias.
Rabbits are some of the greatest escape artists of nature. No matter how hard you try, they manage to find a way into your yard—and your tasty plants. Luckily, you can use rabbits’ sensitive nature against them by using the smells they hate to repel them. Rabbits hate strong odors, such as vinegar and sulfur. They also hate the smells of some ordinary foods, such as chili, chives, and coffee.
If pantry remedies are not keeping rabbits away, invest in smells that remind them of predators, such as fox or coyote urine.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.