How to Remove Rabbits from Traps: Easy Tricks and Tips

Photoby usfwspacific / CC BY / CC BY

So you’ve finally managed to trap that elusive rabbit after several failed attempts. You’re probably thinking to yourself that the hard part is over and all that’s left is to retrieve the animal from its prison. How hard could that possibly be, right?

Well, the short answer is that it is harder than you think. You simply cannot reach your hand into and pull out a rabbit.. Even though it seems that easy in magic..

Wild rabbits are burrowers and a lifetime of burrowing has given them very strong hind legs. And their surprisingly sharp claws don’t help matters either. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the rabbits sold at pet stores with the ones found in the wild; you would not be the first rabbit trapper to lose his catch with only a bleeding hand wound to show for it. The rabbit does not want to stay trapped, and it will do whatever it can to get free with all the desperate strength and speed that survival instinct can muster.

The problem with removing rabbits from their traps is that most humane and live traps need to be opened first. And that is an opening that the rabbit will not miss. This is why live traps tend to be on the longer side. It is so that you can tilt the trap backwards and ensure that the rabbit would have to climb or leap straight up in order to get to the opening.

Three Ways of Removing Rabbits From Traps
You have three ways of removing the rabbit from the trap, broadly speaking. One is to neutralize it or incapacitate it before opening the trap. Your mind might already be running to the idea of shooting the critter with a small calibre gun, but be warned that ricochets are a very real danger. It does not make for the most impressive hunting story when you end up getting shot by your own weapon. Not to mention, gunshots can ruin a rabbit’s pelt and meat; so if that’s your goal, guns are out.

You could stab the rabbit with a long knife, but then you’d have to deal with a bloody trail and a bloodier trap or will have to wait till the creature bleeds out. Also some people simply do not have the stomach for an up-close-and-personal kill like that.
Another efficient, but expensive alternative is to tranquilize the rabbit and then retrieve it at leisure. This isn’t the most effective way to remove rabbits from traps, but it still is worth mentioning even though the average joe won’t be doing this.
The second way to remove rabbits from traps is to open the trap after tilting it and grabbing its hind legs with one hand while firmly gripping its body with the other. This should allow you to remove the animal with little chance of it struggling free, as long as you don’t hold back with the grip strength and keep it well away from your face and eyes.
Some people have mentioned using a large bag in which should calm the rabbit down along with keep the handler and rabbit itself safe when trying to remove rabbits from traps. As mentioned earlier, wild rabbits aren’t going to lie down and roll over for you.

Note: that this method does not ensure that you will avoid all scratching, but it should keep the damage to a minimum. You can always use thick gloves to further lower the risk.

Now all that’s left to do is to transfer it to another cage or a humane kill. But that is an article for another day.

I’d like to leave you with one more bit of advice. Rabbits do have problems with ticks and parasites, so be sure to shower and wash your clothes thoroughly after handling the animal.