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Individual study: An acoustic scaring device tested against European rabbits

Published source details

Wilson C.J. & McKillop I.G. (1986) An acoustic scaring device tested against European rabbits. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 14, 409-411


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use loud noises to deter crop damage (e.g. banger sticks, drums, tins, iron sheets) by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1984 on grassland in Surrey, UK (Wilson & McKillop 1986) found that an acoustic scaring device did not deter European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus from consuming bait. Bait consumption after the device was activated (2–361 g/bait pile/day), did not differ from that before the device was activated (7–368 g/bait pile/day). Five wild, adult rabbits were placed in a 50 × 40-m grass enclosure, with wooden hutches at one end. The opposite end housed the scaring device and 400-g piles of chopped carrots at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 m from the device. The device emitted 5-s bursts of rapidly pulsed sound, separated by 4-s silences. Bait was deposited on four days/week. Remaining carrots were removed and weighed to establish quantity consumed. Similar bait, in rabbit-proof cages, was used to correct weights for moisture changes. The enclosure contained sufficient grass to sustain rabbits without their need to eat carrots. The trial lasted four weeks, in March 1984, with the scaring device switched on midway through.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)