Tips For Catching A Stray Rabbit

What You’ll Need

A bowl with water (strays are often dehydrated, especially in summer)

Food, such as rabbit pellets, leafy greens, and fresh fruit (ripe banana and grated carrot work especially well in attracting rabbits because they’re smelly as well as tasty.

If you have a rabbit of your own, bring some rabbit poop—the scent of another rabbit will often attract a stray.

A carrier to transport the rabbit

Strongly advised: three-foot tall puppy/exercise pens to corral the rabbit

When to Look

Your best chance of spotting a stray is in the early morning or at dusk, when rabbits tend to come out of their daytime hiding places and look for food.

Where to look

If you don’t see the rabbit, look, check out the likely hiding places: under decks, bushes, trees, and cars.

Ask people who live or work in the area whether, when, and where they’ve seen the rabbit.

How to Catch Your Stray

Some strays are eager to be caught. If you get down on the ground and don’t look threatening—and especially if you offer food—they’ll hop right over and let you scoop them into a carrier. Others will hop into a carrier or crate baited with food and water.

Others are shy or frightened and harder to catch.

The Columbus House Rabbit Society has found three-foot exercise/puppy pens especially useful in corralling strays.

You should have at least two, preferably three, 3-foot pens and at least two, preferably three, people.

Once you have spotted the rabbit, set up a semi-circular fence of pens up in the direction you think s/he is most likely to run.

Circular Pen

If you have three 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.

Positioning People

You can use more pens, as required, if you're trying to catch multiple rabbits, as shown in the picture above. Also, when you successfully corral the rabbit, slowly decrease the size by removing pens until the space is small enough to easily coax the rabbit into a carrier.

Be patient!

Catching a really shy rabbit may require multiple trips. But our experience shows that persistence pays off: once the rabbit is used to you, and especially if s/he associates you with food, s/he will become more trusting and easier to catch.