Do you have ranunculus or buttercups in your yard? If so, you may want to know if they can be attacked by wild rabbits. Rabbits are herbivores by nature, which means they can eat virtually any plant. What about ranunculus? Do rabbits eat ranunculus?
Rabbits don’t normally eat ranunculus. Among all the plants they like to nibble on, ranunculus is not one of them. Ranunculus are generally toxic to livestock, so rabbits tend to stay away from them.
Ranunculus contains a compound known as ranunculin, which is responsible for its toxicity. This is usually broken down to protoanemonin. However, the level of toxicity varies depending on the particular species. Read on to find out how to keep rabbits away from a garden that is filled with ranunculus.
Is Ranunculus Rabbit-Resistant?
Ranunculus, also known as buttercups or spearworts, are generally rabbit-resistant. There are over 600 species of the plant; all of them are poisonous to rabbits. This includes the stem, flowers, leaves, and roots.
Some species are not highly toxic and may not cause any serious problems unless they are consumed in large amounts. These issues are usually digestive problems or some kind of inflammation in the mouth. Other species have higher levels of toxicity and may cause serious, more serious problems.
Besides their toxicity, ranunculus also has a bitter taste, which makes them less palatable to rabbits and deer. Having said that, they can still eat the plant when they are very hungry and have nothing else to eat.
READ MORE: Do Rabbits Eat Verbena?
How To Keep Rabbits from Eating Ranunculus
Protecting your ranunculus from rabbits often requires a combination of different methods.
One of the best ways to keep rabbits from entering your garden is to use fencing. While this might take some time and effort, it will serve as a permanent solution once it’s set up. In other words, you won’t need to reapply repellents every time there’s a shower.
One thing to note when installing a fence is the height. Rabbits typically don’t jump more than 2 feet, so you will want to set up fencing that is at least 2 feet high or more. It’s best to use a wire fence that has not more than 1-inch openings; smaller is better. This could be a rabbit wire or a chicken wire fence.
Use stakes to support the fencing while anchoring the bottom with landscape pins. This will keep the rabbits from wiggling through underneath. Some wild rabbits may attempt digging under the fence; to prevent this, the lowest 2-3 inches of the fence should be buried into the ground.
Similarly, you can use a chicken wire cage if there are just a few plants you want to encircle.
If you want to protect only your ranunculus, then you can just focus your efforts on protecting that particular area. In this case, you can consider targeted coverage. This usually involves wrapping or covering the plant with a garden fabric, then supporting the fabric with with hoops.
This method is quick and provides an easy way to shield the entire bed or area of ranunculus or any other flower or plant of interest from possible rabbit attacks. Ensure the fabric is well secured (anchored) on all sides.
When it’s not practical to use a fence, you can scatter scents around your ranunculus or garden that rabbits don’t like. There are certain odors that are offensive to rabbits; sprinkling them around the ranunculus plants can potentially keep them away. Some of these scents can also repel deer. I have listed a good number of them below:
- Rotten eggs
- Fish emulsion
- Talcum powder
- Hot pepper
- Dried sulfur
- Citrus peels
You can apply these items by dusting/sprinkling them around the plant or diluting with water in small bottles and spraying them.
WARNING: Don’t apply vinegar or ammonia directly to the plant. Instead, pour them into small jars or containers with tiny holes to let out the smell. Then, place them around the garden.
It is worth mentioning that repellents may not always be effective. Besides the fact that you need to reapply them often, especially after the rain, some rabbits may get used to the smell over time.
Instead of preparing your own repellent or using an item from your kitchen, you can purchase one.
Like the natural options, chemical repellents can be applied to any plant, tree, or vine that needs protection from rabbits. They usually have an unpleasant scent, taste, or texture, which is supposed to deter rabbits.
However, some of them may not be safe to use on vegetables or other food plants. As a result, you want to read the label and directions to be sure it’s something you can use. If you’re looking for options, consider LIQUID FENCE, which is safe to use for deer and rabbits.
It’s worth mentioning that just like natural repellents, commercial repellents usually work for a short period and need to be reapplied, especially after a downpour.
Another method you can try out is to use scare tactics. This way, you won’t have to chase the rabbits yourself. However, this is a temporary fix because sooner or later, the rabbits will realize that it will cause them no actual harm.
Examples of scare devices are sparkly streamers, water sprays, and motion sensor lights. All these can scare off rabbits initially, but over time, the rabbits can get used to them and just ignore them.
The only exception is when you use actual animals like dogs to chase the rabbits away.
If you live in an area with a lot of rabbits, chances are that you will have other wild predators around, such as owls, hawks, and foxes. These animals don’t usually pose much danger to family pets. So they can be allowed to hunt rabbits.
Having said that, to be on the safe side, you’re better off with your family dog or house cat; these are effective deterrents.
Even though rabbits are herbivores by nature, there are still many plants and herbs they like to stay away from. If you can incorporate some of these into your yard, you can deter them.
Here’s a list of such plants:
- Bee balm
Signs Rabbits Are Eating Your Ranunculus
Rabbits can move at any time, so it’s possible to spot them early in the morning, late afternoon, evening, or night. Generally, rabbits come out when there’s little to no human activity. But besides seeing them, there are certain signs that can show that they’ve been to your garden or yard. These include:
- Piles of droppings around the area where your ranunculus Is planted
- Tunnels or tiny holes near the base of shrubs or in your garden bed
- Rabbit furs in front of holes leading to a burrow
- Grazed plants, which may include your ranunculus
- Small footprints in the soil or mud
- Damage (usually small teeth marks) to tree barks
To conclude, rabbits don’t typically eat ranunculus or buttercups, which makes them great for your garden. They can be grown with other rabbit-resistant flowering plants like catmint, lavender, alyssum, yarrow, marigolds, and the like. However, it’s still important to have other deterrents set up to fully protect your garden.
READ MORE: Do Rabbits Eat Dahlias?