How to Round Up a Stray

It’s our mission to save as many bunny lives as possible – and when a stray rabbit is reported by a concerned member of the public, we spring into action and organize a “rabbit wrangling” party to get that bunny SAFE!

But why wait? Here are some tips of catching that wayward Thumper!

You Will Need

  • A bowl of water (dehydrated rabbits will want a drink – especially in New Mexico summers!)
  • Food – pellets, greens, and especially ripe banana since it’s very smelly and all rabbits love banana!
  • If you have a rabbit, bring some of their poo – a stray might be attracted to another rabbit’s smell.
  • Exercise pens (“x-pens”) – preferably the 3-foot high variety since a scared rabbit can jump higher than a calm one!
  • Pet carrier

Look for the Bunny

Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so those are the best times to spot the stray. Since they are prey animals, they like to hide: under decks and other structures, bushes or trees, cars. Ask neighbors if they’ve seen a rabbit, and where.

It’s Time to Pounce!

Sometimes strays want to be caught and it takes no effort at all. Get close to the ground so you don’t seem like a threat, present some tasty food, and they’ll hop right over to you and you can scoop them up before they know what’s happening. Others will hop into a carrier or crate baited with food and water. For the more timid ones, bait a Have-a-Heart trap with some banana and water. NOTE: Check the trap often! A bunny stuck in a trap in the New Mexico sun means death!

X-pens are a good strategy to capture the bunny. At least 2, preferably 3. And 2 -3 people.

Once you spot the bunny, set up the pens in a semi-circle in the direction you think the bunny is most likely to run.

If you have 3 people, station one at either end of the “fence,” ready to bring the ends together once the rabbit has entered the area encircled by the pens. The third person will shepherd the rabbit toward that area. If you have only two people, position one to close the “fence” after the other shepherds the rabbit into the enclosed area.

Once the rabbit is in the corral, slowly decrease the size of the “corral” by removing pens until the bunny can be easily shooed into a carrier.

Most importantly: BE PATIENT!

It may take multiple trips before a shy or really cautious rabbit is finally caught. Be persistent! Once a rabbit associates you with food, they will become more trusting and easier to catch.

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