Gassing rabbits is often promoted by non- specialist pest control companies as the only effective means of rabbit control, this couldn't be further from the truth especially when compared to the versatile methods Evergreen employs.
Gassing is a simple procedure. Tablets which release a concentration of poisonous gas when in contact with moisture are inserted into each hole of a burrow. On dispersal of the gas each hole must be blocked to prevent toxic fumes from escaping. In theory the occupant rabbits then die from inhaling the gas.
To the potential customer this may sound like a magic cure – however there are many potential problems that could deem this method ineffective, inappropriate or unlawful.
Here is a list of the main negative points of gassing:
Gassing is the most expensive form of direct control if the correct amount of gas is used.
Rabbits don’t always live below ground due to the fact we encounter mild weather (even in winter), making such a method unreliable
Gassing operations are ineffective if a hole is left unblocked – which is easily done in thick vegetation.
It is illegal to use gas in close proximity to buildings due to the unpredictability of where it may emerge once dispersed underground.
Gas is an indiscriminate killer & will kill any animal in its path, both protected & not. Little owls, hedgehogs, polecats, reptiles etc are all regular occupants of burrows. Also any gas that seeps through soil in shallow tunnel systems targets species living in the vicinity such as ground nesting birds, livestock & pets.
Gassing should not be carried out in wet or windy weather or in humid conditions as operatives could be fatally gassed.
Gassing must not be used near ponds or water courses as fatal contamination could occur.
Where soil conditions are porous, substantial loss of gas occurs making it far less effective
Burrow Blasting Devices
These devices were first developed in the USA in the 1990’s to kill ground burrowing pests and blow up there shallow habitats. Although designed for the USA terrain they are being imported and used in the UK.
Such devices work by injecting a mixture of propane gas and oxygen into a burrow which is then electronically ignited causing an explosion. Promoters of such a device suggest this then kills inhabitants quickly via shockwaves whilst collapsing burrows.
For many people this may well sound like the “quick fix” they have been after to resolve there rabbit problem which is certainly not the case. The use of these devices in the UK is often carried out in an illegal manner as the laws here differ greatly to those in the USA.
Here at Evergreen we have seen no evidence that these devices help solve a rabbit problem. In fact they only hinder an effective program of rabbit control. These devices are used indiscriminately against wildlife whilst killing and maiming in an inhumane manner. We advise against there use.
Here are a few points why Evergreen does not use nor need these devices which are illegal, ineffective and unnecessary cruel.
- Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to kill any animal with an explosive other than ammunition.
- Those caught breaching such a law faces a £5000 fine or 6 months in prison.
- Those caught killing, maiming or interfering with habitats of protected species with a device face an increased fine and sentence.
- These devices can be used legally to destroy burrow systems providing all living species are removed. The use of ferreting can remove rabbits from such burrows to great effect as we have proven time and time again. However ferrets hunt rabbits naturally and not other species meaning other forms of wildlife would still be in the burrows when the device explodes. This in turn means the act of burrow blasting is illegal and the operative is breaking the law.
- If a rabbit control program is conducted correctly, burrows will naturally degrade through lack of maintenance by the rabbits.
- Burrows are often many feet deep in solid stony ground and even tunnel systems destroyed by heavy plant machinery soon become re colonised by rabbits especially if rabbit control is not carried out correctly. Burrow blasting devices are unlikely if at all capable of destroying all of a complex tunnelling system. In many cases they achieve little more than disrupting the soil and making digging easier for the rabbits.
- Many state that rabbit control is a difficult task however when carried out correctly in a methodical manner, it is easily achieved. We use such a method at Evergreen.
- These devices cause disruption to tunnels which make future efforts to control rabbits more tricky and time consuming.
Whilst Evergreen rabbit control cull tens of thousands of rabbits annually, we carry out our work humanly. We are opposed to any form of animal cruelty. Many operatives of these devices either unknowingly or through choice kill rabbits along with other species that live along side them. Although such people say that even in the event of an “accidental death” using these devices that the death will be instant, there are many witness sightings to say differently.
Reports of rabbits and other animals fleeing from burrows alight or severely burnt are not uncommon. Whilst this is a horrendous sight to see, it is only a fraction of the potential cruelty going on out of sight below ground to both pests and protected species.
Here at Evergreen Rabbit Control we have proven that there is no need for these devices in the UK pest control industry.
What you should do if you suspect someone is using such a device illegally
The best thing to do is to contact the police and ask for your local wildlife and crime officer, as well as the RSPCA. Report what you have seen and if possible take photos or footage as it may be needed as evidence.