Rabbits are popping up everywhere in Boston and surrounding suburbs, and while these pals are cute and amicable, they might be a gardener’s worst nightmare. As a city, it’s infrequent that Bostonians come across wildlife in their daily commute, other than the occasional lost turkey.
But this summer, rabbits became a little too comfortable with urban life and there have been many reports of bunnies nibbling their way through parks, flowers, and even wiping out entire gardens. Gardeners beware!
It’s unclear if rabbit populations have grown, as rabbits reproduce at exponential rates, or if the lack of food led these rabbits to source elsewhere. But luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your gardens should you find rabbits nibbling where they shouldn’t be:
- Surround gardens with chicken wire fencing at least 2 feet high
- Try a balcony herb garden
- Use raised garden beds to grow
- Choose rabbit-resistant plants
What is causing the increase in Boston rabbits?
There a few potential reasons for the outburst in rabbits. The main two breeds bouncing around include the New England Cottontail and the Eastern Cottontail, both of which reproduce heavily in summer. This means more bunnies, more sightings.
Another potential cause is a change in predator diet to squirrels and smaller animals, also allowing rabbit populations to grow.
The third potential cause is a reduction in greenery with urban development. As rabbit habitats are removed, they go searching for food and shelter. Private gardens cater to the diverse diet of these bunnies who will munch on anything from spring onions to plump tomatoes.