Rabbits alive and breeding in the garden

PEST PROPORTIONS: More and more people are seeing rabbits where there were previously low numbers. These two have burrows inside this garden, which should either be pruned to reduce their cover, or fenced.

REPORTS are flooding in about the increasing number of rabbits seen on the land – you may have already seen several in your garden.

Numbers have built up in normally rabbit-prone areas and in locations where rabbits were previously considered low in numbers.

Luckily we have not seen the thousands of these pests sweeping across farms as they did a century ago, where farmers worked together with their neighbors and families to drive them into enclosures, where they were clubbed to death.

Copies of the Mansfield Courier in the early 1900s continually featured articles on rabbits and various formulas for reducing their impact on the land.

From about the 1950s the farmers’ savior was myxomatosis – a virus spread between hosts by fleas or mosquitoes, resulting in death within days.

As rabbits gradually became resistant to the virus, each new generation showed further increases in resistance, but luckily a new deadly virus was identified in China, spreading later to Europe.

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