Even in the urban garden Rabbits are a real problem. Many people dislike the thought of shooting or it may not be practical if close to houses so a  live trap is a good alternative.

In this instructable I will show how to make a simple and cheap live trap.

Just remember if you release the fluffy bunny then take it at least 5 miles from your house or it will come back!

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Step 1:

A length of wood - Sizes are not critical but should be at least these sizes or the rabbit wont fit in the trap
36 inches - 900 mm x 10 inches - 250 mm x 1/2 inch - 12 mm

Some stiff wire - I used some square mesh left over from a rabbit hutch (irony there)

A few staples

Some left over scraps of wood laying round the work shop.



Wire cutters

Pliers to bend the wire mesh.

Step 2:

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How to:

Cut  the wooden base to length with the saw, try to make the cuts at right angles so things look neat.

Cut the wire so that you have enough to form a cage round the base about 10 inches square (250mm square)  +1 inch to wrap under to fix with the staples In my case that was a length the same as the length of the base + 1 inch at each end  (3' 2"  or  950 mm) this was cut to 10" +10" +10" + 2"=32 " WIDE.

I turned an inch over at the edge at 90 deg  to fix under the base with the staples. 

Measure 10" along and fold again at 90 Deg to make the side and top.

Measure 10" or the width of your base for the top and fold down at 90 Deg for the other side

Leaving 1" to fold under to fix to the base on the other side of the base.

When you fix the mesh to the base with the staples leave 1 inch over hang at each end.

Step 3:

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Cut a section of mesh to fit the back of the cage in my case 10" x 10"  This is fixed to the cage with some short lengths of wire, string would also do the job as long as it is secure.

A 9.5" x 9" door was cut from some scrap plywood. this needs to be fairly heavy so it will close effectively

The hinge at the top is made by drilling a couple of holes and tying some wire through loosely so the door will swing easily.

A small hole at the bottom allows a short loop of wire to be hooked through to make the latch.

Fold the edges of the cage over by 1 inch to prevent the door swinging out - Note the door opens into the cage.

Step 4:

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The trigger mechanism was made from some scrap plywood. There are no critical dimensions but you can judge the size I used from the ruler in the pictures.

At the door end the lever catches the wire loop holding the door open

At the other end of the lever a vertical trigger holds the lever down until the rabbit pushed it back whilst trying to get at the food..

This releases the trigger allowing the leaver to flip up. and so releasing the door.

The door drops down sealing the exit and trapping the rabbit in the cage for later disposal.

That's all there is - Bate the trap with something tempting. Lift the door and snag the wire loop. Set the trigger, I like to ensure it is only just holding the lever so little contact sets it off.

Site the trap some where near the rabbit problem and make sure you check at least daily.

A trapped rabbit may jump around a bit so to prevent it overturning the trap you may like to put a stake each side to keep the trap stable.

Step 5: How the trap works

Picture of How the trap works
In the attached diagram. When the rabbit tries to reach the bait which is at the back of the cage it has to pass by the trigger.

Pushing past will release the trigger which is only just trapped under the wire and is holding the door open with a lever.

This releases the lever and the door can fall shut. Because the door will not push out and the rabbit can not pull it inwards the rabbit is now trapped.

The door swings closed and is hinged at the top with a simple wire loop hinge through a couple of holes.

Step 6:

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As an addition to this general idea of a trigger and bait you can build a trap from any box or washing basket etc.

The trigger mechanism is slightly different but just a modification of this design as in the attached drawing.

Getting a wild animal out of here can be difficult though unlike the cage trap so be warned. Also trapping native birds may well be illegal where you live so check up on it.

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I wish I could say it works. I've tried everything. Did yours work?

rickharris (author)  david foeckler1 month ago

Yes it works several rabbits have been trapped with this although it looks a bit squashed at present as the grass cutting contractor ran over it.

Do you think you could explain how the door is being held up a little better? I just need some verification on it. Thanks.

rickharris (author)  david foeckler1 month ago

the door is held up with a wire loop. This goes over the end of a horizontal lever made of wood - about 10mm square,

At the other end this lever is trapped under the notch cut into the vertical trigger. This is another bit of 100 square wood with a 1 mm notch cut in the top end.

When bunny pushes past to get at the tasty yumies at the far end the trigger is pushed over, the horizontal lever is released and the weight of the door pulls the wire loop free, allowing the door to drop closed behind bunny.

Because the door opens inwards the bunny can't push it open again.

tp.pa.122 months ago

Very neat & simple build, but one thing to take into consider & that is your trap door. Looking at the trap with the door set open, it looks like the door is going to hit your bunny in the back by its butt, giving it a chance to get out. The trap needs to be long enough for your biggest prey, so that the door will not land on the animal. Otherwise a great simple effective trap that anyone should be able to build.

I think the Lever Mechanism is not sensitive enough. Every time the bait is gone with nothing in it.

rajeevprabhu4 months ago

Please do not kill it...!!

id eat it
rickharris (author) 5 years ago
5 miles is a long way when your hungry - rightly or wrongly in these times of high food prices I see them as food!.

Around me I seriously doubt I am making much impact on the rabbit population they breed faster than I catch them.

Funny how fussy people have become - very few I know will eat rabbit (many naver have.)

never eaten a rabbit but i would love to try it.

It is absolutely delicious! I always braise mine since they're so lean (the lack of fat makes it easy to dry the little guys out). Low and slow, with some beer, wine, or stock, some chopped veggies, and you can't go wrong. I hope you get a chance to try it.

rickharris (author)  thecrazymagnetman2 years ago
Nice lean meat - smells a bit when cooking and can tend to be dry - so stew or wrap in bacon.

over here in Portugal you can buy then at the butchers, in the supermarket...

@Javin007... really? wimping out over cooked meat being cut? butchery I can understand the gross factor, and actually killing large animals is always gonna have a gross factor for me but cooked meat? wow.....

I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until last night when we were watching a food cooking show. They were doing BBQ, and had already dressed/cleaned a hog that was then put on the pit. When it was ready, they went to remove the head, and my wife actually had to turn away from the TV because they were taking the head off of ALREADY COOKED FOOD. I just shook my head.


I personally like rabbit lol. But I know what you mean. I used to raise rabbits as a kid, not as pets, for money and food. anybody that has more than one especially aggressive bucks wont think of them as cute lol. At one time I had over 80. Cant afford to buy them anymore may have to start breeding again nieghbors dont like the idea of me culling the hoods herd lol.
CountryBoy777 months ago
Ya'll gotta be city folks if you are all scared about a rabbit that's food good food
bakdrft11 months ago

what you people don't realize that when you displace animals they usually die because of the unfamiliar area they are put in. So even though think your doin them a favor by not "Hurting" them. Ya KILL em anyway


Tahnks, I'm not going to use this for rabbits,I'm using it for my chinchilla.( Poor baby got stuck in a hole) but I'm going to try this because i don't have a live trap and don't know where to get one :)

nolalupete1 year ago

Simply brillaint! You are a genius, Thanks, gonna make one for a groundhog,

Poor bunny! :( Why would you want to eat it?!

because its food.

parisusa1 year ago
If you have a dog in your yard most wild creatures stay away...but then you have a dog! Haha!
Because bunts are delicious when fried or grilled
begothic2 years ago
I have found that these also make great crawdad traps.
dumnonni5 years ago
this is an over engineered trap, just get some thin wire and make 10 snares (a noose would be perfect) then check every few hours. if you dont check, a fox will take it or just shred it. when you find a rabbit, break its neck or smash its skull. i tend to skin and gut it on site to attract foxes, that way you could have a nice new fox pelt by the end of the day. alternaitly, a 12 bore to the face does the job.
rickharris (author)  dumnonni5 years ago
Over engineered? I beg to differ. It is similar to commercial traps but the trigger is much easier to manufacture.

Blow it's head off - i agree easy - Not everyone can be there when bunny appears, and not everyone has the equipment or the inclination to do the deed.

Personally given the chance I shoot with an sir rifle, effective and quick if your a good shot.

Snares you have to take care to keep within the law - Someone was fined recently for trapping a grey squirrel and then drowning it. causing unnecessary suffering - £1500!

what is a sir rifle?
rickharris (author)  Lorddrake2 years ago
Typo AIR RIFLE - sorry
and here i was thinking it was a fancy rifle that was partial to wearing top hats, monocles, and handle bar moustaches
rickharris (author)  Lorddrake2 years ago
Sorry No - :-}) It's either a Hungarian relium or an older air sporter - Both sprung from pre legislation when restricted things to 12Flb - I have no idea on their mussel speed and don't intend to check.
Snares are unwise in urban areas simply because you can't be sure of killing a bunny or a neighbor's cat.

This is a live trap, so Fluffy from next door can be released alive.
rickharris (author)  kill-a-watt4 years ago
I rarely use snares - Our allotment area is fenced but I do agree with you on the pet issue. A snare is best positioned over the rabbit hole to catch it as it emerges. Modern snares HAVE by law here to be self releasing - in general a cat will eventually pull itself free.
I catch with my hands!
rickharris (author)  Dusk Shadows2 years ago
Neat trick the rabbits round here are a lot more wary and quick as well.
So are ours i just run after them i also catch Ducks
rickharris (author)  Dusk Shadows2 years ago
I am impressed!
can you use a screen?
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