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Bunny Bank - Multi-catch Rabbit Trap
Holds up to five live rabbits at a time
Designed by a Victorian rabbit trapper and made in Australia
Hot dipped galvanized steel spot welded mesh to last for decades of use
Double-ended for covering small and large burrow openings
Humane, live-capture cage rabbit traps - no blood and guts or poisons
There is a farming expression - three rabbits, three years, three million.
European rabbits are a feral animal introduced near Geelong, Victoria from Britain in the 1800's for game hunting. Being very rapid breeders, they spread accross the country.
Rabbits cause serious erosion, pasture loss, kill off native vegetation, breed up in biblical plague proportions and compete with native animals and livestock for food and pasture. Their digging, ringbarking of shrubs and eating causes serious environmental and farming problems.
Rabbit numbers are making a big comeback especially with all the good feed around. Their national numbers now excede the pre-Calici virus population. It is the law that land owners must eradicate rabbits from private property. Recent estimates of losses to farmers caused by rabbits is around two hundred million dollars annually.
Instructions for use
The Bunny Bank is a 98 cm long, double-ended and sturdy mesh rabbit trap made of 2mm thick Australian-made galvanized wire witih one inch spacings. It is rigid and built to last.
Sit the trap the right way up, that is with the trap doors hanging down from the roof of the trap. Gravity on these doors is what traps the rabbits.
Locating burrows is one way to use the Bunny Bank.
Select a burrow opening that has fresh comings and goings for trapping, not a burrow that has cobwebs across the entrance or other signs of dis-use.
The pointy end of the trap is inserted into smaller rabbit burrow openings.
The other end of this trap has three mesh flaps that fold out to cover larger burrow openings. When using this flap end, place a rock behind each of these three flaps to hold them in place over the larger burrow entrance.
Both Bunny Bank entrances have a one-way wire mesh door that the rabbits easily go through. This drops behind the rabbit coming out of the burrow on an angle and they cannot get back out. Rabbits generally (but not always) come out in the evening.
Set the Bunny Banks in daylight and check the traps next morning and thereafter at least once a day.
Cover other open burrow openings over with rocks or logs, or cover as many as you can see, to put the odds in your favour so that the rabbits come out into your Bunny Banks. Rabbits are not going to stay underground forever. They have to come out to eat and drink. Once the other burrow exits are blocked off, their only way out is into the Bunny Bank.
Depending on the angle of the ground at the burrow entrance, a tent peg inserted in the left and right sides of the Bunny Bank about midway from the entrance can help hold it in place if you need to stabilize it. Or put a rock under the trap to level it if needed. You will judge this angle on your land.
To block off any small escape gaps around the trap at the burrow entrance, insert scrunched-up newspaper in these gaps as rabbits do not dig through this, compared to soil, which they will dig through.
One or more Bunny Banks can be placed in a rabbit warren. The bigger the rabbit warren, the more Bunny Banks can be put to use for faster results. Place one trap over towards on one side of the warren and the other trap over towards the opposite side of the warren.
If you had (or borrowed) a ferret (the natural enemy of the rabbit) in combination with the Bunny Banks, rabbits come out faster when they get a whiff of the predator in the burrow. You don't have to use ferrets with this trap but if you do use them, it should speed up the exit of the rabbits into the Bunny Bank. Give the ferret something to eat before putting it in the burrow so they are not as hungry to kill a rabbit underground and possibly block themselves in behind a dead rabbit, but not so much food that they have an underground snooze on the job.
If you have a ferret stuck down the burrow, usually between two dead rabbits, or if you see a stray ferret around a burrow, put a small piece of meat just inside the burrow entrance and another bigger piece of meat up the back end of the Bunny Bank set into the burrow entrance to entice the ferret out of the burrow into the trap. Come back the next morning to see if your ferret is waiting inside the Bunny Bank.
After trapping a ferret and before using the Bunny Bank for rabbits, throughly clean the trap of predator smells or no rabbit will go near it. Rinse it off well with water after cleaning. A light spray of Eucalyptus oil will help mask scents, or smoke the trap for a few minutes over a small smokey fire of dried gum leaves and twigs to remove predator scents, including yours.
The Bunny Bank can also be used to trap rabbits at a fenceline (or other regular rabbit location) where there is a rabbit run. Rabbit runs can be seen as grass is flattened where rabbits come and go through the same gap along the fenceline.
Tie the three flaps ends of the Bunny Bank to the fence at the rabbit run or put rocks behind them to hold them open. Trail small amounts of rabbit food outside both trap entrances about a meter out to give them the general direction leading into the trap entrance. Place the bigger pieces of food in around the middle of the trap. Bait the trap with food that is more appealing for them to eat than grass - wheat, oats, corn and the larger pieces of carrot, lettuce, fennel (which smells like licorice and wafts around). Rabbits like eating lucerne. A clump of green lucerne from the middle of a bale placed in the centre of the Bunny Bank also smells attractive for rabbits to go in and eat.
When trapping at a rabbit run, first tie the two internal trap door flaps up so that both ends of the trap entrance are unobstructed. Keep the food supply up in the middle of the trap for two or three days and observe that the food is being eaten. This rabbit food inside the trap rewards them for using the Bunny Bank as their run-through at the fence line, or whatever point you observe that you can put the trap to allow them to run through it. After a couple of days of free feeding and rabbits using the Bunny Bank as their run-through, untie and drop both trap doors. The next time they use the trap as a run through, it is a one way trip. They are not coming out. If there is plenty to eat inside the Bunny Bank, the others follow on inside for multiple catches.
The sooner you empty out the trap of rabbits, the sooner the next batch can be trapped.
Standard trapping practice for any live animal capture is to check your traps at least daily so that the trapped rabbits are not left out in the weather for a long slow death.
If you are using the Bunny Bank to trap rabbits for food for the table and a fox or eagle comes along before you do, it is unlikely they can get the rabbits out of the Bunny Bank because it is constructed with strong Australian One Steel mesh and it has quality spot welding.
Emptying the Bunny Bank
To get rabbits out when using them for food, stand the Bunny Bank vertically to pull the rabbits out of the larger end of the trap. Grab the rabbit by the back of the neck to avoid it furiously scratching you with its back legs. Avoid tipping the Bunny Bank upside down as the trap doors at each end will fall open with gravity and the trapped rabbits will most likely make a fast run for it.
Check that your rabbits for eating are healthy and disease-free.
To keep rabbits alive and fresh until you are ready to despatch them, up to five live rabbits can be kept inside the Bunny Bank which can be covered with an old towel or similar. Do not allow the Bunny Bank to be turned upsdide down or on its side with rabbits in it. The trap door is hinged from the top and this relies on gravity to keep the rabbits inside. If you have more than five live rabbits to transport, a hessian bag with a tie at the top allows them to breathe and you can carry them back alive.
To kill a live rabbit humanely, a standard method is to grab it by the back feet with one hand. With the other hand placed behind its ears and around the neck, twist the head fast at 180 degrees with a sudden snap action of the wrist. This breaks the rabbits neck and it dies immediately. Process the rabbit by removing the internal organs/guts within 20 minutes or the meat will spoil. Place the cleaned and skinned rabbit in a transportable chiller or refrigerate it without delay.
If you are not using the rabbits for food, another way to despatch them is to put the whole Bunny Bank (keeping it the right way up) with rabbits in them into a large garbag. Cut a 20 mm slit in the sealed end and attach the open end by garden hose to the exhaust pipe of a cold petrol motor (most carbon monoxide poison). Run the motor (in open air) for a few minutes and leave the trap and rabbits in the garbag for a further few minutes. Like euthanzising at the vets, they just go to sleep permanently.
How to cleanly process rabbits for food
If you have to kill a feral animal, rather than just pointlessly waste the carcass, rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat. Cooked with moisture such as a rabbit casserole or rabbit pie, it is excellent eating. Rabbit is an expensive delicacy at restaurants today. Your Bunny Bank will pay for itself many times over in good fresh meat for the table and home freezer. If the skins are taken off in one piece, stretched and dried on a bent wire hanging up in a shed, they can be sold and processed as fur or into Akubra hats.
There are various ways to properly process a rabbit for eating. This demonstration video is from a professional rabbitter in the UK who cleanly processes fresh rabbit meat out in the field.
The following two videos are from the experiences of a retired Australian rabbiter. Note that the serrated metal jaw traps shown in this demonstration have been illegal to use or sell for years in Australia. You get jail time and big fines for using serrated jaw traps. IT'S A TRAP supplies soft-jaw leg-hold traps that are approved for use for rabbits, feral cats, foxes and wild dogs.
This trap will go through the Australia Post system.
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Where possible, we pack traps within traps to keep the freight size and price to a minimum.