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Animal Repellant
by Havahart
April 24, 2011

Animal Repellents

Rabbit Repellents

Rabbits may look cute, but they can cause considerable damage to gardens and landscaping during any part of the year, especially in rural fields, suburban yards, and tree plantations. A rabbit’s diet consists mostly of grass, but this animal will eat any type of vegetable in the summer. During the winter, rabbits eat twigs, bark and tree buds.

Rabbits will strip the bark off young trees up to 2.5 feet above ground. Their damage is identified by clean, angled cuts on the ends of leaves, similar to cutting shears. You can also look for their tracks. Wild rabbits have four toes on their back feet and five toes on the front. The spacing of a running cottontail’s tracks is about one foot. (Identify Rabbit Damage)

Thiram fungicide, hot sauces, and tobacco dust are effective rabbit repellents, however the most effective rabbit repellent, according to research, is putrescent egg scent.

Putrescent eggs scent mimics the smell of decaying animal protein, which fools rabbits into thinking predators are close. Instinctively, rabbits run from the smell. This prevents them from eating treated flowers, plants and shrubs.

The most effective rabbit repellents contain the putrescent egg ingredient and only need reapplication approximately once every three months. These repellents are also approved for use with organic gardening, which makes them safe to use on your vegetable garden.

Deer repellents that use capsaicin and putrescent egg scent deter deer through both scent and taste.

Deer Repellent

During winter, when food sources are scarce, deer will browse whatever they can find, such as your shrubs and trees. With no front teeth, deer strip bark off trees by raking their incisors upward, leaving jagged edges. The damage can be as high as 6-8 feet.

In the spring and summer, deer love new shoots and plant growth. You budding garden plants and landscaping will fall victim to hungry deer unless you use an effective repellent. (Deer Control)

Deer repellents are ideal for use on home gardens and landscape, since fencing can be too costly and aesthetically unpleasing. The most effective deer repellent is one that uses a combination of putrescent egg scent and capsaicin because deer have highly developed senses of smell and taste. Deer repellents that use putrescent eggs only need to be applied once every three months, but frequent rainfall increases the need for reapplication.

The putrescent egg scent mimics the smell of decaying protein and fools deer into thinking predators are close. This is very effective because the moist nose of a deer allows it to pick up the faintest of smells. Drifting odor particles stick to this moisture, are then drawn into the olfactory organs, and alert the deer of danger up to several hundred yards away.

Capsaicin, the source of “heat” in chili peppers, targets the deer’s sensitive taste buds. This also serves as another line of defense if a deer is upwind from an applied area and cannot smell the putrescent egg scent. When the deer tastes the plant, it is immediately turned off by the burning sensation caused by the capsaicin and will stay away from the treated plants.

Squirrel Repellent

Squirrels can be a problem in your backyard, especially if you have birdfeeders. The squirrels raid the birdseed and are very vocal, making for a noisy yard. Ground squirrels also build underground nests, which can cause injury for someone walking over these. (All About Squirrels - Facts)

Along with being an effective deer repellent, capsaicin also repels squirrels because of its unpleasant taste and touch. Other ingredients of effective squirrel repellents include oil of black pepper and piperine.

Repellents made with these ingredients normally come in granular shaker canisters, so the repellent can be applied around a perimeter. One application is effective for up to 30 days.

Raccoon Repellent

Due to the raccoon’s adaptability, it’s able to live in urban and suburban environments. They often scavenge in waste dumps and trash cans. Not only are torn trash bags a major inconvenience, but raccoons will also destroy vegetable gardens. Their increased dexterity also allows them to open jars, latches, and even doors. They are nocturnal animals and cause the most damage from May to September.

If your vegetable garden is being eaten or your trash bags are ripped open, you can tell if a raccoon is the culprit by looking for footprints. The front foot resembles a human hand, and their rear feet have five toes each. If you can’t find the tracks, sprinkle four in the surrounding area so you can find the tracks next time. (Identify Raccoon Damage)

Piperine, capsaicin, and oil of black pepper are effective ingredients that repel raccoons. This combination will deter raccoons through both scent and taste. The capsaicin will also irritate the raccoon’s skin when it walks on a treated surface. This irritation is harmless, but will condition the raccoon to not return.

Works Cited

All About Squirrels - Facts. 2 6 2010 .

Deer Control. 2 6 2010 .

Identify Rabbit Damage. 2 6 2010 .

Identify Raccoon Damage. 2 6 2010 .

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