Wire Netting - Alternatives to Snares
Setting snares for rabbits is largely a waste of time for pest control. This is because mortality from natural causes will have reduced rabbit numbers to their lowest level by the winter. Up to 90% of young rabbits born during the summer will have died by this time without intervention by man.
Netting fences should be constructed of 18 gauge, 31mm (11/4”) hexagonal mesh. They should be a minimum of 750mm (2’ 6”) high with a further 150mm (6”) lapped on the surface of the ground towards the rabbit harbourage. Turfs of grass should be placed on the lapped netting at 1m (about 1 yard) intervals to hold it firmly in place (vegetation should later grow through the mesh to complete this job). The netting should be attached to two 2.65mm (1/8") high tensile spring steel straining wires (one at the bottom of the fence and one at the top) with galvanised fence rings. The straining wires should be supported by wooden stakes 1.8m (5' 11") x 80mm (3"). The stakes can be placed up to 15m (48' 9") apart although ground undulations may dictate closer spacing. End posts 2.0m (6' 6") x 100mm (4") braced by struts 2.0m (6' 6") x 80mm (3") should be placed at the ends of the fence and at bends. Local site conditions or other considerations may demand a variation to these specifications. For example, particular attention should be paid to the presence of potential weak spots such as uneven ground, dry stone-walls and watercourses.
In areas such as young farm woodlands, where it is especially important to prevent invasion by rabbits, the fence specification can be improved by projecting the top 150mm (6") of the fence outwards at 45° towards the harbourage. Ideally, wire-netting fences should be erected to surround fully the area to be protected. If this is not practical, a strip fence, which extends at least 150m beyond either end of the problem area, may be used. The number of gates in a fence should be kept to a minimum because they make maintenance more difficult. They should be hung on supports independent of fence straining posts, as the latter will inevitably move and so affect the hang of the gates. A wooden sill must be dug into the ground to prevent burrowing underneath, and gates should shut against a post. Badger gates should be installed in the netting if the fence crosses any badger tracks or paths. An advisory leaflet, describing the design and installation of badger gates in rabbit-proof fencing is available from Defra . Regular monthly inspections and maintenance of fences are essential to block burrows dug under the fences and to repair damage.