How to catch a stray rabbit?
Since November 9, we've been feeding a stray rabbit in our neighborhood (although as you can see above, it much prefers to munch the grass that grows up between the cracks of our sidewalk!).
It escaped from a neighbor's house but they don't seem to be making any effort to recapture it. It was kept in an outdoor hutch but somehow got away. (I heard from the neighborhood kids that it ran around loose in their yard, so it probably burrowed under the backyard fence) They have other rabbits too and apparently they've all been taken inside for the winter. The rabbit has become quite accustomed to living in our neighborhood; it seems to have developed survival skills and an independent attitude. Of course, it also appreciates the pellet food, carrots, and apples we've been leaving for it.
We've tried the have-a-heart live trap, but it was ignored (we're willing to try again if you have any suggestions on how to make it appealing). We've tried sneaking up on it with a long-handled crab net (since these are in abundance here, a town on the Chesapeake Bay). It's just too clever and too fast. And unfortunately too paranoid to let us pick it up. It has several sheds nearby under which it seems to stay when it gets really cold, or to hide from predators I suppose.
We have an extra cage if we ever do capture it (though I am sure it will not be happy to lose its freedom). When it rains or snows, we set up the food bowl inside a covered carrier to keep the food dry. It came looking for it this morning, apparently. We saw its paw prints in the snow all over our yard and the neighbors'. I am very worried about the winter weather, though I've heard that it's not completely unlikely that a stray rabbit could survive. Sometimes the fact that the food has been eaten is the only sign that it's still alive.
So, I ask the community: please let me know your most successful techniques for catching stray rabbits!