What Smells Do Rabbits Hate? {Liked vs. Disliked Smells}

Pee-ew! What’s that smell? Is it bothering you or your rabbit? What smells do rabbits hate?

What are the smells that you enjoy, but a rabbit doesn’t? I’m currently drinking coffee and I don’t think my rabbit wants to be anywhere near me.

In this article, we will look at smells rabbits like, are repelled by, and which ones cause them stress, but let’s first address the question, “What smells do rabbits hate?”:

What Smells Do Rabbits Hate?

First of all, rabbits have a sensitive sense of smell where certain aromas that we find tolerable or appealing causes them to be repelled, repulsed or even stressed. Some the these hates smells include:

  • garlic
  • coffee grounds
  • vinegar
  • chili powder
  • predator urine
  • sulfur
  • blood meal
  • chives
  • geraniums
  • wax begonias

Many property owners who wish to keep rabbits away without hurting them, employ these odors that rabbits consider foul or alarming and they work well to keep them out.

You can avoid these odors if you wish for your pet to be comfortable and relaxed in your home.

What Scent Keeps Rabbits Away?

People who have trouble with wild, nuisance rabbits use the following scents to keep them away.

  • sprinkled red peppers
  • Irish Spring soap
  • garlic
  • coffee grounds
  • vinegar
  • chili powder
  • predator urine
  • sulfur
  • blood meal
  • chives
  • geraniums
  • wax begonias

Rabbits are observed to sniffling almost all the time. My impression of a rabbit is one where I make a sniffing face with my nose scrunched upwards. Rabbits sniff and respond to pleasant or foul odors by following their nose.

What Do Rabbits Hate the Most?

Rabbits the feeling of fear. Sometimes smells and sounds can be enough to trigger fear in a rabbit. The following sounds, sights and smells can make rabbits upset, stressed or scared:

  • Predator urine
  • Traffic
  • Car horns
  • Screams from the TV
  • Loud volume music
  • Young children who run quickly past them
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Sulfur chili powder

It’s best to keep a rabbit’s enclosure further away from the kitchens and high traffic areas. Keep the area as peaceful as possible.

What Essential Oils Do Rabbits Hate?

Essential oils can be pleasing for some as it is said to have relaxing properties, but others may hate them and be repulsed by these strong odors.

This is definitely not aromatherapy for a rabbit who will be repelled by the following essential oils:

  • Mint
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon balm
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

Some rabbits have their unique preferences and may refute these generalizations of odors that most of them hate. If your rabbit likes lemon balm for example, then keep using it.

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Do Coffee Grounds Keep Rabbits Away?

Yes. In many cases of wild rabbits damaging outdoor crops, gardeners and farmers alike use coffee grounds scattered on the soil. It’s healthy for the plants, but repels wild rabbits.

You can sprinkle them on the roots and soil surrounding plants such as:

  • corn
  • lettuce
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • beans
  •  peas 

Do Rabbits Hate White Vinegar?

Rabbits do not like the smell of vinegar at all. If you soak a cotton ball with vinegar and place it in areas that you do not wish your rabbit to explore, they will stay away.

Vinegar doesn’t stain or damage your home and provide excellent signals for restricted areas. You can leave some vinegar in a jar or spray it in areas that you do not wish for rabbits to enter. It works well for insects, rodents and even dogs.

Do Rabbits Hate the Smell of Lemon?

Even though rabbits have a strong sense of smell, lemon may not actually repel them. Use vinegar instead. Citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons and grapefruits do not necessarily repel all rabbits.

Some species or unique rabbits may hate them, but this is not a smell that makes the list of scents that all rabbits hate.

What Smells Do Rabbits Like?

What smells do rabbits love, adore or enjoy? Rabbits like the smell of many flowers, sweet foods, and other rabbits. A rabbit may also enjoy the odor of her kits and even her own waste.

Vanilla is enjoyed by rabbits, lavender is a toss up. They could eat lavender plants, but some are repealed by the odor while others receive the calming aroma well when the oil mixed with water is gently rubbed on their fur.

Let your bunny be the guide.

Do Rabbits Like the Smell of Vanilla?

Yes. Rabbits enjoy the odor of vanilla because it is sweet. Other scents like mint or lavender may not be enjoyed however. Generally, sweet herbs and flowers are inviting to rabbits.

Vanilla is used sometimes as a soothing scent to rub on rabbits who are spooked or uncomfortable. I have not tried it myself, but it has been recommended by members of the rabbit lover community in its essential oil form.

Why Do Rabbits Hate Garlic?

Garlic has a sharp and pungent smell that many animals do not like. This is why it’s a good idea to grow garlic in gardens next to other crops that rabbits or other rodents tend to destroy.

I’ve even seen that raw eggs, garlic liquid and water mixed together and sprayed on the soil to absolutely repels rabbits. They hate it very much.

Plants That Rabbits Hate

The plant that tops the list for rabbits who would like to go nowhere near has got to be wax begonias. They are not common in most gardens, but rabbits hate it.

The texture and smell are repulsive and only gets stronger on sunny days. Other plants that rabbits hate include:

  • Geranium
  • Catmint
  • Snapdragons
  • Allium
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Foxglove

Rabbits leave these plants alone in the wild. If you are growing any of these indoors or near your rabbits’ enclosure, move them because they could be causing stress or discomfort that you never knew about.

What Smells Do Bunnies Hate Most?

It’s truly a subjective opinion, but I would say that rabbits hate predator urine the most because of the alarming, alerting and intense fear a perceived threat brings upon these cute creatures who are very vulnerable.

Secondly, I would have to say that rabbits hate the smell of sulfur. It has long been used in its dry form to repel rabbits from gardens.

What Sounds Are Rabbits Scared Of?

Besides repulsive smells, rabbits are also scared and deterred by sounds they find displeasing to their long ears. The following are examples of sounds that rabbits hate:

  • thunder
  • fireworks
  • noisy children
  • vacuum cleaner
  • hair dryers

A rabbit may respond subtly by remaining motionless or playing dead with these intense sounds trigger them.

Do Wind Chimes Keep Rabbits Away?

Yes. Placing some wind chimes or loud noises that two cans can make when they hit each other when the wind blows are examples of sounds that rabbits hate. The reason why is because rabbits are sensitive to noises.

This is when rabbits feel danger or perceived threats and they will usually respond by running away from these loud sounds. A rabbit may not wish to come back to the same area where they hear these noises ever again.

Be careful if a rabbit is your own because the loud sounds that you have in the garden can alarm your rabbit who may choose to never come out to play in this location ever again.

How Do Rabbits React to Smells They Hate?

A rabbit can express many different ways to show you that they hate a certain smell. If they are a free-roaming they will just simply run away from it.

A rabbit that is stuck in an enclosure will either play dead or remain motionless. This rabbit may refuse your affection and make stop eating altogether.

It is hard to tell when a rabbit is making subtle responses to pungent aromas that you may not have thought were actually repellents.


There are many smells that rabbits hate. Most of them are used as repellents for wild, nuisance rabbits to prevent from ravaging gardens and farms. If you want to keep your rabbit in comfort at home, then you should avoid some of the pungent smells and aromas and we have listed in today’s article.

You may not know it, but some of the smells that are coming from your kitchen are making your rabbit quite stressed in the living room. A rabbit who is repelled by this type of odor cannot really display outward emotions or would choose not to.

The rabbit will instead, in most cases,  remain motionless or lie down in a state of playing dead as a response to these smells. This is why we cannot be certain that a rabbit is either stressed, uncomfortable or completely repulsed by some of the odors that we have in our home.

It’s best to play it safe and check for your rabbits preferences while keeping strong scents such as essential oils in other rooms away from your rabbit enclosure.


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My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.