Rabbit looking at garden

What Smell Does Rabbits Hate?

Got a case of Peter Rabbit nibbling in your garden, or maybe Thumper has been hopping through your yard? If so, you’re probably wondering what you can do to keep these furry critters at bay. As cute as they might be, rabbits can cause quite a bit of damage to plants, flowers, and vegetables. One method of deterrence involves using smells they can’t stand. But before we delve into that, let’s understand our furry visitors a bit better.

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Rabbit Senses

Rabbits, whether they’re the wild cottontail variety or someone’s pet bunny that’s taken a garden adventure, have finely tuned senses that help them navigate their world. Their sense of smell, in particular, is incredibly sharp, even better than a dog’s. They use their noses not just to find food, but also to sense danger and communicate with other rabbits. This heightened olfactory perception is what we’re going to use to our advantage when deterring these cute, but potentially destructive, critters.

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Common Smells That Rabbits Dislike

Ready for the secret weapon? Here it is. Rabbits are known to detest the scent of some specific plants and substances. Top of the list are strong, intense odors like vinegar, ammonia, and garlic. They’re not fans of certain spices like chili or pepper either. Some plants are also rabbit-repellents. They dislike the aroma of marigolds, alyssums, and geraniums. The scent of predators like cats, dogs, or foxes can also make them turn tail and hop away. However, it’s important to remember that what works for one bunny may not work for another. Their dislikes can vary, just like ours.

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Utilizing These Smells for Rabbit Deterrence

Knowing what rabbits dislike is only half the battle. Now, it’s time to put this knowledge to good use. Here’s how. If you’re looking for a natural deterrent, consider planting some of the rabbit-repelling plants mentioned earlier around your garden. Another method is to make a homemade repellent spray with garlic or chili. A sprinkle of pepper around your plants could also do the trick. But remember, if you’re using predator scents, it’s crucial to rotate them regularly so the bunnies don’t get used to one smell. Also, these deterrent methods should be used along with other strategies, like fencing, for the best results.

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Applying the Smells in Your Garden or Property

So, you’ve got your rabbit-deterring smells. Great! Now what? Now we need to learn how to use them effectively. If you’ve chosen to use plants, arrange them around the perimeter of your garden or any place you want to protect. This way, their aroma can act as a natural fence. If you’re using a homemade spray, sprinkle it around the plants you want to shield. Remember to reapply after rainfall, as the scent can get washed away. You can also soak cotton balls in vinegar or ammonia and place them strategically around your garden. Just make sure they are out of reach of pets and children!

Other Non-Scent Methods for Deterring Rabbits

Though using scents is an effective way to deter rabbits, it isn’t the only solution. You can also employ other strategies. One of the most popular is using a physical barrier, like a fence. It should be at least two feet high and buried a few inches into the ground to prevent rabbits from burrowing under. You can also consider using commercial rabbit deterrents available in the market. And finally, modifying your landscape to make it less appealing to rabbits, like removing low shrubs where they can hide, can also make a significant difference. Combining these methods with your scent deterrents will give you the best chance of keeping those furry visitors at bay!

Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbit Deterrence

Can I use more than one smell to deter rabbits?

Absolutely! Mixing and matching different smells can be a great strategy to keep rabbits guessing and discourage them from becoming accustomed to a single scent.

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Do these smells harm rabbits in any way?

No, these scents do not harm the rabbits. They merely discourage them from entering your garden or certain parts of your property. Animal-friendly and effective, it’s a win-win!

Will these smells deter other animals too?

Some of these scents might deter other animals as well. For instance, vinegar can repel deer, while predators’ urine can frighten smaller mammals. Always consider the broader effects when planning your deterrent strategy.


Keeping rabbits out of your garden doesn’t have to be a difficult task. With the right scents and strategies, you can effectively deter these adorable but potentially garden-damaging critters. It’s all about understanding their dislikes and using it to your advantage. Happy gardening, and may your greens be ever free from the nibbling of little bunny teeth!

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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