Can Rabbits See in the Dark? The Surprising Truth!

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Have you ever thought, can rabbits see in the dark? You’d be surprised to know:

No, unfortunately, they cannot! Rabbits ― unlike some animals― do not have eyes that contain a tapetum lucidum and thus have trouble with seeing in the dark.

In this article, I’ll review a series of questions about rabbits’ vision at night.

If you’re keen to know all the fun stuff, keep reading…

Key Takeaways

  • Rabbits cannot see in the dark. They do not have a tapetum lucidum (reflective layer of tissue behind the retina) that nocturnal animals have. 
  • Rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are active the most at dawn and dusk and see best during these half-light times.
  • Rabbit’s eyes are near the top of their head, giving them almost 360 vision.
  • Because of their eye placement, rabbits have a blind spot directly in front of their noses.
  • Rabbits use farsighted vision, fast movements, and sharp smell and hearing to stay safe from predators.

Can Rabbits See in the Dark?

No, rabbits cannot see in the dark. Complete darkness renders rabbits blind, much like it does humans. Their eyesight is best in half-light conditions. 

Rabbits are crepuscular animals, meaning they remain most active at dawn and dusk. They see best during these times and can become stressed in full light long-term. 

Since rabbits need to protect themselves from predators at all times of the day, they often hide in the ground when predators are most active. 

Rabbits can see their surroundings well due to the placement of their eyes. Their eyes are located near the top of their head, giving them almost 360- vision. 

For a better review, watch this incredible video:

Can Rabbits See When It Is Completely Dark?

So, now that your answer to can rabbits see in the dark is answered, there’s more: can they also see in complete darkness?

Rabbits are blind in complete darkness. In partial darkness, they can see dark figures but may not know what the shapes are.

In other words, rabbits rely on their other senses to determine if danger is near ― mostly their stellar sense of smell and hearing [1].

Rabbits see best in the low-light conditions of dusk and dawn. Small prey animals must adapt to a variety of situations to stay alive. 

They move quickly and hide in their dens when danger approaches.

How Well Can Rabbits See in the Dark?

Your bunnies can see like you and I do: When it’s dark, they won’t be able to see much.

Why’s that? Because, evolutionary speaking, they don’t need to.

The mechanism responsible for this ability is called the tapetum lucidum, reflecting adequate light and adjusting objects to make them more transparent.

Nocturnal animals (animals that live in the dark) have this ability making it possible for them to hunt in darkness ― but not your bunnies!

CHECK: Are Rabbits Nocturnal or Diurnal?

How Do Rabbits’ Eyes Work? 

Speaking of night sight-seeing potential, I need to explain how your bunny sees. Without this knowledge, understanding the hows and whys will be difficult. Here it is:

baby rabbit

1. 360-degree Vision

The position of a rabbit’s eyes on either side of their head provides them with a much greater degree of peripheral vision than species that are predators,” writes Vet expert Brian Faulkner, MRCVS [2].

You already know that rabbits’ eyes give them a 360-degree field of vision. The placement of their eyes gives them panoramic vision.

Unlike many other animals, rabbits can see behind them without turning their head.

While the placement of their eyes gives rabbits many advantages, it also gives them a small blind spot.

Once an object appears in its line of sight, your bunny will struggle to see it.

2. Sleeping

People sleep with their eyes closed. But rabbits sleep with their eyes open.

Some people think that rabbits can see while they’re sleeping ― yet science hasn’t proven this statement yet.

This is just a protective measure: during sleep, your bunny keeps its eyes open make to appear scary to predators, the bad guys ― so think of it as its special survival secret.

Read more about how much do rabbits sleep.

3. Blinking Capacity

Do rabbits blink their eyes? Rabbits are always on alert because they are a source of prey for many larger animals.  So they do not blink their eyes frequently. Rabbits blink only 10-12 times an hour.

wet rabbit looking sick but can rabbits get wet

Rabbits have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane, which blinks the most and keeps the rabbit’s eyes clean and debris-free.

You may not see this eyelid unless you look very closely since it is clear.

With a clear membrane, the rabbit’s vision is not heavily impacted while blinking, making it easier to stay on alert watching for predators. 

What Are the Colors Rabbits Can See?

Interestingly, rabbits can see in two dimensions but cannot see 3D in certain situations. 

In the same breath, rabbits can only recognize blue and green. The color they cannot recognize at all is red.

Often rabbits can confuse colors. For instance, they cannot differentiate between red and green.

It can be an effect of color blindness. But, the rabbits are not completely color blind as they can see blue and green.

Should I Leave a Light on at Night for the Rabbit?

It is not necessary. The rabbits can adjust to any light conditions or stay without any lights.

rabbit alone in a cage, why do rabbits grunt

If you think your rabbit might be awake the whole night, keep a dim light on. If it is sleeping, keep the lights off because it can disturb sleep.

Whether to leave the light on depends on you and your rabbit’s daily routine.

You can experiment with your rabbit’s behavior and decide the best way to make them comfortable.

Rabbits’ Reactions to Dark Places

Rabbits’ reaction differs and depends on their place. Most wild rabbits prefer shady, dark areas to feel safe. They come out only at dawn and dusk.

The domestic rabbits are also the same. But, some of the pet rabbits enjoy lights if they get to interact with you.

Are you on the hunt for the perfect name for your bunny? Look no further than the “rabbit names” video below:


1. What makes rabbits different from nocturnal animals?

bedding for rabbits to sleep on

Rabbits are awake the dawn and dusk and are referred to by experts as being crepuscular.
Nocturnal animals sleep when it’s day and are awake at night.

2. Can I leave my rabbit alone in the darkness?

Yes, you can.
Most rabbits do well in the darkness ― wild or pets. You may, however, notice that your rabbit is more alert at night.
This behavior does not necessarily indicate fear but results from their natural survival instincts.


Now that I answered your question, can rabbits see in the dark, let me ask you: can they? If you don’t know the answer, re-read this terrific article!

As a wrap-up,

Rabbit vision is delicate. Unlike their nocturnal pals’ excellent night vision, rabbits don’t possess the same luxury. But they have something else ―  a wide field of vision.

They are more comfortable in dim light conditions and more likely to come out at dawn and dusk. But they can still see in darkness.

Though they are innocent, sensitive animals, they are not afraid of darkness. Either way, their vision is adjustable to any light or dark condition.

Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, please share your excellent tips with me.

Better yet, please don’t hesitate to hit the comment button. 

Until next time…

rabbits at night


1. How To Tell If Your Rabbit Is Blind Or Deaf [Internet]. Medivet.UK. [cited 2022 Dec 22]. Available from:

2. Faulkner B. Rabbit care tips for healthy eyes [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Dec 22]. Available from:

Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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