I was watching Top Gear last night and Richard Hammond was (supposedly) trapped on a mountain in British Columbia and had to "survive".

At one point he laid a snare for rabbits on a track and said:

The instruction on this say I need to bait this with my own pee (continues to pee on snare)

(or words to that effect).

I guess this is just a slightly silly joke, but is this simply Top Gear making a joke or is there some truth in this practice?

  • 1
    I think the key here is "Top Gear presenter", as distinct from "experienced survivalist". – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 2 '15 at 17:29

Well, urine has a strong smell, and rabbits are very sensitive to smells.

Too sensitive, in fact - human urine will repel, not attract rabbits and is sometimes even suggested as a means to keep them out of gardens.

Rabbit urine, on the other hand, could definitely work, there's a good chance that rabbits in the vicinity would come to inspect what strange other rabbit has invaded their territory.

  • 2
    So Richard just appears to fancy himself a rabbit, then? – Cthulhu Mar 2 '15 at 10:22
  • 7
    Well, he's known as "hamster", so perhaps it works with hamster urine. – Duncan Jones Mar 2 '15 at 12:30

I can't find any immediate answer regarding rabbits in the mountains, but I was able to find a "mountain goat action plan" from the National Park Service website:


Of particular note is that the mountain goats have become nuisances, and will stamp and lick human urine in order to get the salt. This likely extends to rabbits in the mountains, where salt is hard to come by, and even drinking urine is preferable to going without.

They can be a nuisance along trails and around wilderness campsites where they will persistently seek salt and minerals from human urine, packs and sweat on clothing.

  • 2
    I did several backpack trips in the Cascades. There, deer would hang around your camp site waiting for you to go pee on a bush so they could eat it. Definitely in it for the salt... – Jon Custer Mar 3 '15 at 15:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy