Rabbits may dig under your home when searching for a nest to protect their young and to store food. Backyards, wood piles and gardens provide protection and a food source that is hard to resist. Rabbits don't usually dig their own burrows. Instead they'll use one already dug, or they'll use existing cavities like the area under a house. They live in these dens throughout the winter or to hide from predators.
Signs of Rabbits
If you believe a rabbit is burrowing under your home but haven't actually seen one, there are other signs that can confirm your suspicions. Rabbits will eat almost any vegetation, including flowers, but they don't like tomatoes. They may damage trees and shrubs, chewing in patches on smooth areas of bark, which leaves teeth marks less than an inch wide. Tracks in the garden or the soil around your home will be in groups of four, with the back feet ahead of the front. The front paw track is roundish and about an inch wide while the back is more oval shaped and three times that size. Rabbit droppings resemble compacted sawdust and are round and disc shaped. A single rabbit will leave up to 500 pellets per day.
Rabbits produce offspring between February and September. At least four to five weeks must pass for the young to be ready to leave the nest. Avoid trapping rabbits when their young may still be under your home because the babies will die, leading to problems with odor and disease. Trapping between November and January doesn't guarantee that the rabbit won't have young rabbits still with her, but the odds are significantly less at this time. During winter months, food is scarce, so rabbits will be more tempted by the bait. Place the traps close to the nesting area, and bait with apples or corn. Check the trap daily. Do not leave a trapped rabbit longer than a few hours. Relocate trapped rabbits, or call your local animal control organization to have them removed. Trapping or eliminating rabbits is rarely effective because they are prolific breeders. When you remove one, you may leave their young behind, and there are usually several more nearby ready to take over the vacant nest. The best method of removal is to make your home less appealing to them.
Remove Potential Nesting Sites and Protection
Dense cover enables rabbits to be protected from predators while nesting and feeding. Removing this cover makes the area around your home less attractive to rabbits. Areas that rabbits may use for cover include brush piles, overgrown shrubs and vegetation and long grass. Trim shrubs and keep your lawn and areas around gardens mowed. Clean up vegetation around ditches, banks and trees, which removes protection that rabbits need to feed and may make them move on to a more suitable home.
Remove Food Sources
Making your yard and the buildings around your home undesirable for rabbits can help prevent them from digging under your house. Eliminate potential food sources, such as gardens, flowerbeds and trees. Rabbits prefer not to travel far from their dens for food. Install 1-inch galvanized wire mesh fencing that is at least 18 inches high placed around these areas, and wrap trees with either mesh or commercial tree wrap to prevent the rabbits from chewing the base, which should be enough to prevent rabbits from getting access to the food. Stake the bottom edge of the wire into the ground several inches to prevent burrowing.