What Smells Do Rabbits Love? [& What Smells Do They Hate?]

HomeCareWhat Smells Do Rabbits Love?

Rabbits love the smell of sweet stuff. There are a variety of pleasant scents/smells that rabbits are drawn to. Some of these items include the following: anything sweet, roses, green vegetables, valerian, sage, and basil.

Everyone is drawn to one kind of scent or another. Whether it be flowers, perfume, fresh mountain air, fresh baked cookies, etc.

Rabbits are no different, with each one having its own unique preference. Many people utilize this knowledge to help draw rabbits to their yard.

In this article, we will discuss the multiple options you can use to either entice the neighborhood rabbit to create a new home for them or use these options to help capture that pesky thing that keeps ruining your seasonal rhubarb.

But first, we need to examine what causes a rabbit to have such an incredible sense of smell and how it is important to their survival.

A Rabbit’s Sense of Smell

It’s Stronger Than a Humans

Have you ever noticed that when you look at a rabbit, its tiny little nose is always moving in a twitchy rhythm?

That’s because a rabbit is constantly using its sense of smell to analyze its environment and everything in it.

Research has found that a rabbit’s sense of smell is approximately 20x stronger than a human’s. Can you imagine how overwhelmed a rabbit’s sense of smell would be in a Bath and Body Works?

The mix of 50 + scents can cause sensory overload for anyone. This certainly would be forever imprinted in a rabbit’s olfactory nerves.

Their sense of smell is so much stronger thanks to its 100 million sensory cells that help the rabbit smell food or predators up to 2 miles away. That’s a pretty sensitive sniffer!

In comparison, a human only has about 6 million sensory cells. Yes, you read that correctly! Our sniffers are horrible in comparison.

Anatomy of the Rabbit’s Nose

These millions of sensory cells live in the rabbit’s mucous membrane of their nose. When a rabbit starts twitching its nose rapidly, it forces the inside of its nasal passageway to open up, allowing more scented air to flow through to reach these cells.

These cells stimulate the olfactory nerve (smell nerve) to send a message to the rabbit’s brain, informing it of the type of smell it is experiencing. Pretty cool, right?

How Smell Can Lead to Life or Death

Whenever you see a rabbit’s nose twitching rapidly, it is smelling scents in the environment and sniffing out predators.

A rabbit’s sense of hearing and smell are the most critical parts of helping rabbits survive. Without either of these, rabbits wouldn’t stand a chance in the wild.

By sniffing out a predator from a couple miles away, a rabbit can ensure it gets to a safe and secure location until the threat passes.

Is a Rabbit’s Nose Used Only for Smelling Predators and Food?

The answer to this question is no. It is not the sole purpose of a rabbit’s nose. In fact, the twitching movement serves as a way for rabbits to find their babies after a long day of hopping around the forest.

It also allows a rabbit to sense other rabbits are in the area. During mating season, this skill is particularly helpful as it helps a male rabbit locate a female rabbit who is ready to mate.

Believe it or not, a rabbit’s nose is also used as a way for them to communicate with one another.

A Rabbit’s Favorite Smells

Rabbits are similar to humans in the sense that they individually have certain preferences of smell.

One rabbit may love the smell of roses, and another could be repulsed by them. Here is a list of some of a rabbit’s favorite scents:

  • Sweet fruits: apples, oranges, berries. You name it, they like it.
  • Roses: white, red, yellow.. Really any color will do.
  • Herbs: basil, valerian, and sage

If you have these items around the house, you can use them outside if you care to attract rabbits, as they will be in an olfactory paradise.

A Rabbit’s Least Favorite Smells

So then, what does a rabbit dislike?

There are plenty of items on this list. Rabbits typically don’t like.. Well… smelly things (and not the good kind of smell. I’m talking about rotting food and dog poop in a garbage bag).

Let’s take a look at smells rabbits tend to defer away from:

  • Onions & garlic: remember how we talked about how sensitive a rabbit’s sense of smell is? They typically don’t want to be near anything emanating strong odors.
  • Lavender: It is not fully understood why a rabbit would hate this smell, but for whatever reason, they hate it. With a passion.
  • Anything not sweet: vinegar, chili powder, sulfur.
  • Predators: this one is pretty self-explanatory. Think of standing next to your worst enemy, and they forgot to put deodorant on a day it’s 102 degrees. Same thing.

Using Scents to Protect Your Garden

You wake up and wander out to your fresh new garden one sunny morning only to discover your rhubarb leaves have fallen victim to a hungry rabbit. For the 3rd time this month!

How can you get those pesky things to stay away? Simply applying the scents that a rabbit hates around your vulnerable vegetables or fruit will keep them away. Gardeners typically find the best luck with garlic cloves or onion powder.

Rabbits have such a strong sense of smell that they can smell things 20x better than humans. As mentioned, their sense of smell means life vs. death.

By adding sweet fruits, beautiful roses, and a lovely mixture of certain herbs to your garden, you will have their little sniffers directing them to olfactory heaven.

Bryan Moore
Bryan Moorehttps://perfectrabbit.com
I am Bryan, owner of PerfectRabbit.com. I love all animals but find myself especially drawn to rabbits. I have been very lucky to be able to turn my passion into my profession, and I am grateful every day that I get to do what I love. It is my hope that through this website, I can help others learn more about these wonderful creatures and provide them with all the information they need to care for their own rabbit. View my Full Author Page Here

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