Plants to scare off rock dassies?

I run a bush lodge in Madikwe game reserve. We are situated near a rock outcrop and have a colony of rock dassies,I am having such trouble with them eating every thing in the lodge garden,is there no type of aloe or do you perhaps know of any plants that dassies dislike,I dont want to harm the dassies,just that it is costing me a fortune in plants.

Look forward to hearing from you.


43 replies on “Plants to scare off rock dassies?”

You can try getting a hunting dog, or best try attract the dassies natural predators. I doubt aloes will work as they are too slow growing and will probably be eaten anyway. Maybe try calling The Karoo national botanical garden in Worcester and see if they have any ideas.
Otherwise i found this list online for rabbits.
There’s another approach to dealing with the rabbit problem: use plants that rabbits don’t like to eat (yes, I know, this will sound rather incredible to some people). Here’s a list of 30 rabbit-resistant plants for a wildflower garden:

1) Milkweeds (Asclepias sp.), all species. The leaves are bitter tasting and poisonous.

2) Dogbanes (Apocynum sp.), all species. The leaves are bitter tasting and poisonous.

3) Lobelias (Lobelia sp.), all species. The leaves are poisonous.

4) Delphiniums (Delphinium sp.), all species. The leaves are poisonous.

5) Ragworts (Senecio sp.), especially Senecio plattensis. The leaves are poisonous.

6) St. John’s Wort (Hypericum sp.), most species. The leaves produce a photosensitive reaction when eaten.

7) Native Thistles (Cirsium sp.). The leaves are too spiny.

8) Ironweed (Vernonia sp.) The leaves are too bitter, also the plants grow tall and out of reach of rabbits.

9) Vervains (Verbena sp.) The leaves are too bitter.

10) Native Wild Lettuce (Latuca sp. & Prenanthes sp.) The leaves are too bitter, particularly when mature.

11) Silphium sp. (Rosin Weed, Prairie Dock) The leaves are too sandpapery and coarse.

12) Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) The leaves are too spiny and coarse, although rabbits may nip off the tips of leaves of young plants.

13) Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) The leaves are too bitter tasting and coarse.

14) Native Spurges (Euphorbia sp., such as Euphorbia corollata) The white latex is poisonous and highly irritating.

15) Many members of the Mint family, including Bergamots (Monarda sp.), Mountain Mints (Pycnanthemum sp.), native Hyssops (Agastache sp.), Wood Mints (Blephilia sp.), native Sages (Salvia sp.), and the like. Rabbits seems to detest the minty/oregano/anise scent of the leaves in these species. Generally, the more fragrant or bitter the leaves, the better.

16) Wild Indigos (Baptisia sp.) The leaves are poisonous.

17) Goat’s Rue (Tephrosia sp.) The leaves and roots are poisonous.

18) Anemones, Thimbleweeds (Anemone sp.) The leaves contain a blistering agent.

19) Buttercups (Ranunculus sp.), many species. The leaves contain a blistering agent.

20) Native onions (Allium sp.) Rabbits seem to detest the onion scent.

21) White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) The leaves are poisonous.

22) Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) The leaves, and especially the roots, are very poisonous.

23) Cowbane (Oxypolis rigidior) The leaves are poisonous.

24) Wild Sages (Artemisia sp., like Artemesia ludoviciana) The leaves are too bitter and their scent is repellent.

25) Ground Cherries (Physalis sp.) The leaves contain solanum, the same poison to be found in the leaves of tomato and potato plants.

26) Sneezeweeds (Helenium sp.) The leaves are bitter and poisonous.

27) Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.) There are too many spines, at least for the Eastern Cottontail rabbit.

28) Lupines (Lupinus sp.) The leaves are poisonous.

29 Blue Star (Amsonia sp.) The leaves are bitter and poisonous (it’s related to the Dogbanes and Milkweeds).

30) Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor, Iris virginica)
The leaves are slightly poisonous and rather coarse. The roots are also poisonous.

Sometimes rabbits will bite off the leaves and stems of some of these plants experimentally, but will decide that they are unpalatable, and leave them lying on the ground. Mature plants are less likely to be attacked in this manner.

You can also raise tall-growing plants (Sunflowers, Joe Pye Weeds, Mallows, Goldenrods, Ironweeds, etc.), which are vulnerable to rabbits primarily during the first year (at which time they can be protected with hot pepper spray, tabasco sauce, black pepper sprinkled on leaves that have been misted, etc.), but later are too tall and coarse to be bothered much by them.
Hope that helps cheers
Jamie Garner

I thought more cheeky …

I like the idea of attracting natural predators, such as birds of prey. not sure how you would go about this though, perhaps creating places for them to roost?

Perhaps you could try a statue of an owl or bird of prey nearby? It works well for keeping pigeons away. Not sure if dassies are smarter than that though …

Maybe I’m wrong but isnt the whole idea of a nature reserve to have the bush as your garden and the dassies to be welcomed?

Please help I live in a residential area and my garden has lots of greenery and we been
having a family of Dassies that live here. But they becoming an nuisance .They are now sitting on my roof and trying to get into my ceilings and even chasing my Dashuand and coming closer to my door How can I get rid of them, they used to keep away from our living area,but now I am scared to even leave my door open.

We also live in a residential area but with lots of rocky open spaces. We have all kinds of wild animals and we do not mind sharing the area, but as for the rock rabbits (dassies) we’ve had it! The pheasants and guinea fowl, owls and mongooses do take their share but it is hardly noticeable. The rock rabbits however, get way too close for comfort. I found one in the house the other day. They eat absolutely everything that has even just a hint of green. (All our plants and herbs are in large pots.) The worst of all is, they mess all over the show and it SMELLS!! They even mess on our stoep, stairs and everywhere. We have to wash and disinfect the whole of our yard (paved) on a daily basis.

PLEASE, ANYBODY, how do we get rid of them??

Regarding how to get rid of dassies – good luck trying to get any official body to take them away if they have become a nuisance. I have had the run around with just about everybody since 2012 and nobody gives a hoot! So best case scenario is to make your property inaccessible to the dassies. I am going to be posting a couple of pictures on my facebook page showing just this. I have not built it yet and will be doing so in the next couple of weeks because HONESTLY they bug me relentlessly and they drive my animals up the wall. Look for me on facebook – estie mattheus.

Hi all, I live in residential village on the banks of the vaal river surrounded by rocks and I agree these dassies are a BIG NUISANCE AND I NEED TO GET RID OF THEM TOO, they don’t eat agapanthus (sp?) lavender plants and cannas, but I looking for a permanent solution – really and truly fed up with them.

Keep all your veggie and salad off cuts….cut them up then mix with slap pap, now mix with a slap slurry of pure cement… Mix together !! Now feed the Rats !,,

Hi, I live in Israel and have been invaded by a hyrax clan in my garden. My beautiful rose garden is now sadly, a stick garden, as my almond tree. My neighbors and I can identify with all of the comments above. I hope you have found a solution by now to these extreme pests!

I have been forced to hack back my beautiful trees to avoid feeding them, however, depriving me of the right to enjoy my garden. Here in Israel, they are consider them a protected species,

Are there any updates since the last exchange of messages above?
Russell from Sept 6,2014, I could not understand the recipe. Thank you

I also had a problem in Natal. Managed to get Ezemvelo Wildlife interested, they got a licenced catcher. Over a total period of 22 days in 2 sessions, we never caught one, just some vervet monkeys. Have now killed all our Cape Honeysuckle, Hibiscus and Croons. Apparently they’ll succome to the Parvo virus, otherwise apart from dogs, nothing else works.

I would like to take exception to the writer who suggested poisoning them with cement, as this will then oly pass into the remaining food chain and we would loose monkeys, birds, and particularly birds of prey.

We have Dassies in our garden and have just accepted that are certain plants that we cannot grow. We don’t regard them as pests, but rather as part of our lives and would never deliberately poison them. I know that they do not eat lavender. We also have a troop of Monkeys who also eat anything they fancy and can be very destructive. They are also part of our lives and were here long before us.

I do not want hyraxes in my garden. They have ruined it. Is there any herbs that I can grow on my balcony (ground floor) that they will not eat?

The hyrax living near my house are driving me crazy too. The first bit of information I can share is if you can remove any rocks where they live, they should go away. If you can remove any food sources, that helps. We have created a chicken wire fence on top of our permanent fence so out yard is not so easily accessible. However, they are animals and find their own way to destroying my trees – but it’s a deterrent. I have read that they do not like bougainvillea bushes, but that takes time to grow. However, I can see the worth in that plant since it is full of long thorns which makes eating the leaves very difficult for them.

Recently I was in the USA, and we did some research, so I bought two large bottles of crystallized fox urine. Since hyrax do not have enough natural predators, the urine of a predator is the next best thing we could find. I have only spread it once, and we need gallons of it really; but I will use the second bottle too in an effort to rid ourselves of this horrible creature whose presence is ruining my life as well.

We sent a petition with 300 signatures to the Israeli government demanding action and they have set aside monies to help the communities get rid of them. The hyrax have to be culled, then the area has to be sealed off completely.


I have planted Amaryllis bulbs (especially white). Arum lilies – different colors, Clivias and geraniums with success. I also searched for plants on the Internet they do not like. I am going to try: Pansies, Delphiniums, Milk Weed (asdepias), Dogbane (apocynum) Etc, We had a colony living in a huge rock (which we cannot remove) in our garden. The body Corporate of our flats put chicken wire everywhere in the wholes where they could hide. The people at the church next to us, put veggies and food out for them every day, as people poisoned them. That helped, but they still chose my roses as desert.

My yard is completely bare as they have stripped two trees, killed off my roses and an almond tree. They will eat almost anything green. Just bought some fox urine in the US to sprinkle around, but we need gallons of it to be effective. Sorry, but I am not sympathetic to keeping them alive because they are making my life miserable.

I live in the Matopos National Park in Zimbabwe, surrounded by giant granite kopjies, so pretty hard not to have dassies on my doorstep. They were coming into my garden all the time and eating everything in site!! I noticed they all came down to a large rock outside my kitchen whenever I called my 2 labradors for dinner, looking at me like “hey what about us” So now I feed them rabbit pellets and any scrap vegetables at the same time every evening 🙂 I know not the best solution but they are very well behaved and only eat from this rock and I now have my garden back. I do think I may trap them in the future and take them to an animal sanctuary near by but for now this seems to be working.

That is a very interesting idea. I would like to think about it – thanks.

My neighbors and my lives are a daily battle fighting the hyrax in close quarters. At night, they devour the trees. One neighbor has a year old baby, & her family is on the front line; another neighbor was bitten by a sand fly and contracted “Leishmaniasis which is contracted through a bite of an infected female sand fly. The female sand fly is infected with a parasite from the Leishmania family and can cause one of three manifestations of the disease (based on the parasite): visceral lesihmaniasis, cutaneous leishmaniasis, and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. It affects millions of patients world-wide. The disease is found in South America, Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean, including Israel. In Israel, the disease is called Jericho Button due to the high percentage of outbreaks near the area around Jericho.” Its horryfing to live with these creatures.

We are carrying this forward by meeting with the local council this Mon. night about taking immediate action for removal of the hyrax from our backyards.

We can’t enjoy sitting in the yard for fear of being bitten, and the hyrax are very bold. I’ve been trying to deflect them with a slingshot. They run away but they come right back. Today was the first time I actually one, but he came back; however my shot has improved.

For me, they are first class pests – and I want them out of my yard immediately.

We don’t have a large colony of Dassies, as their gestation period is +- 7 months. They are not breeding in large numbers. There are (as far as I know) 2 adults and 2 new babies. I get a lot of pleasure watching the babies through our bedroom window. The idea of feeding vegetable peels is a good one. Maybe we could do that and save the plants they feed on.

leishmania is NOT a joke, it is a serious disease in humans. Unfortunately many villages have tried eradicating hyraxes with poison, and anyone who allows their dog loose knows what the outcome is. There is someone in my village who just enclosed her garden with an electric fence. I hope this works.

I just do not know how anyone who loves animals (like me) could even think of poisoning Dassies. Grow what they don’t eat!! There is a comprehensive list above. As for poop, they usually have a midden and if left undisturbed, will be used by the whole colony.

We demanded that our local authorities take action in Israel – and they did. The put up different sized cages in and around where we live. Once the hyrax went it, the door shut. Then they were taken to other locations and released ‘in the wild.’ Our lives were a living hell for years and we finally have some leaves on the trees and flowers. My neighbor got leishmania and it’s a very serious disease to get. She’s undergone series of shots and treatments, but it can also attack internal organs.

Some of my neighbors have electric fences too, but in many cases, the hyrax found ways around it.

Bougainvillea is one of the plants they don’t like, but it’s hard to care for because there are long, sharp stickers.

I bought 2 trays – 24 plants of Lobelia and the dassies dedimated them to the root. One even came back today looking for more………….confused.

Wendy374243 – I too love animals, but when it comes to dassies I don’t think there should be any problem in poisoning them (as this seems to be the only way to get rid of them). They certainly are not endangered and are VERMON which carry disease. They are nothing but large rodents which are an absolute pain and full of destruction. We go out into the bush and cull buck when there are too many of them, what is the problem with getting rid of something which is a far more disgustingly revolting pest!!!!

Well, I am thrilled to report our yard has been free of those creatures/pests this summer and it had been years since we could even sit in our yard comfortably. The problem with poison is it could hurt other animals. Our municipality brought large cages to our yard, my neighbor put greens in the cages, they were caught and taken to a natural park.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

In our country, they are considered endangered – even though I still cannot imagine why. We lived with them and looking back, it was a total nightmare.

Good luck.

I know someone who lives in Johannesburg south where there are lots of rocky outcrops who covers her trees with Christmas tinsel. She swears that since doing this the dassies have avoided her property. I have added tinsel to some of my plants close to where dassies were hanging out and I haven’t seen them in that part of the garden for a long time. Another option is getting Jack Russel dogs – I have two and they wage an ongoing war on the dassies. Have just picked up the remains of last night’s kill and disposed of the body.

Thank you Margaret! I am going to try the tinsel as well as the Jack Russel. I too, live in Johannesburg South, and am going mad with the Dassies demolishing my humble garden. It looks like a desert! The problem is due to the dry weather, vagrants setting winter fires and people cutting back the fauna to look out for thieves walking about. There is just not enough food for the Dassies in the koppies at the moment. We used to have Rinkhauls, which would control the Dassies, but due to the fires, the Rinkhauls have all vanished. I was speaking to a shop attendant at the builders warehouse nursery section just yesterday. He told me the Dassies are coming into the nursery and eating everything in sight! They have become such a problem.

A friend suggested that thin orange electric fence wire that they use to keep horses in their paddocks. It doesn’t kill them but they associate the pain to that area or the orange color wire. I haven’t tried it but I think at this rate it’s the only solution or get a dog

Potato plants are NOT poisonous for rock rabbits. I have found ultrasonic devices that are supposed to scare them off, but the jury is still out if they truly work.

Alas, that ultrasonic device “Repels” does not work. Such a shame, too, and it was not cheap.

i live on a 5,500sq metre property which comprises mostly of rock and the Dassies are a pain in the *^&& they eat everything, prickly pear, aloes, bulbinella, roses etc. is there not a spray one can use, just to make the taste awful?

We have a whole colony in the rocks that are outside our garden. I’ve counted more than 20 of them, adults and young ones.

I’ve come up with 2 new tricks that so far seem to work.
I watched them ruin my cherry- and fig tree 6 weeks ago. They take a little jump onto the tree trunk and then start climbing and munching. So, I decided I have to stop them from jumping and climbing.
I put 4 posts around each tree at about half a meter distance from the trunk. Then I wrapped around that rectangle clear plastic sheet, up to a meter high.
I’ve seen a dassie trying to jump up over my construction and it bounced off, he, he.
To make sure, I also took large disposable plastic dinner plates and round aluminium pie forms, cut a hole in the middle and a crack leading to the hole and put them upside down like little umbrellas around the base of the branches and then taped the crack shut. It’s supposed to prevent climbing up.

So far, my 2 tricks seem to work, haven’t had any new damages to those 2 trees for over a month.
It looks a bit weird but at least the trees are recovering and getting new leaves.
I’ve started putting stakes and plastic sheets around some smaller tree saplings as well and so far they left them alone.

Oh, and they seem to hate mint smell. When they devastated my seedlings and tomato plants on our deck, they left the mint next to them standing.
Now I sprinkle mouthwash around the garden once or twice a week – it seems to repel them at least partially.

I reckon none of these tricks will last forever, eventually they’ll get so desperate that they’ll find a way around. We are planning to get a puppy next week. I hope that he’ll be big enough to join the battle by the time they get through my defenses again 🙂

Yip, these dassies. We also live in Jhb South and behind me is bush with many rock and you guessed dassies too.
They sit in the engine bay of the cars, eat all that is green. I have dogs but they can only do so much.
The other day I took the car and visited a friend and from there when to a garage. The guy opened the bonnet and there a big dassie looks him right in the eye. What a laugh I had. It just stayed there, I went home opened the bonnet and left it open as Mr. Dassie was still there unbelievable.
I will also try the Christmas tinsels and see what happens. One thing I can say is yes they munch anything green but are not like rodents., the closest animal family they have is the elephant.
Good luck on this mission that we all have.

I live in JHB South, we are surrounded by Nature Reserve. The Dassies seem to have abandoned the reserve and now live in storm drains, garages etc. I use Neem oil spray on my vegetables, it worked last year very well, now they have eaten everything I planed. I will try the electric tape.

Dassies are a real pest! They are in my ceilings How can I get rid of them? Is there nobody that can help?

They are real pests. My suggestion would be professional removal if they are in the home. Their presence is a threat to your health. Mosquitos that are around them are definitely carriers of diseases.
In our cases, they were captured in cages and released into the wild, but we suffered on a daily basis from these home invaders.
Good luck!

The only real solution I know of is removing their homes, the rocks. This has worked here where I live. Otherwise, they were captured and released.
I got to be a pretty good shot with my slingshot too. At least, I stunned them or scared them for a minute, but them come back.

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