Owning a pet rabbit is something that many people enjoy because they are cute and playful animals with so much to learn about.
One of the most common things owners wonder about is their rabbit’s sleeping habits.
It often seems these cuddly creatures spend many hours of the day awake.
So, your question may be, “Do rabbits sleep?”
- Rabbits do sleep. They love sleeping.
- Rabbits typically sleep up to 11 hours a day.
- A rabbit’s sleep cycle consists of short naps during the day and night.
How Much Do Rabbits Sleep?
A rabbit needs about 11 hours of sleep daily to be healthy and happy. If they are sleeping less than that, this may be a sign of a medical problem.
They rack up 11 hours of sleep daily by taking multiple short naps throughout the day and night.
The actual amount of time a rabbit sleeps depends on many factors. Their sleep is affected by the season, their sense of safety, and their age.
Wild rabbits and rabbits in captivity differ in how much sleep they get each day.
In the wild, rabbits must be on a constant watch for predators and other dangers because they are prey animals. Therefore, they will take a short nap of an hour or less.
Pet bunnies tend to sleep longer in captivity, where they feel safer. Their natural instincts cause them to take several naps throughout the day instead of having one long sleep period.
Both rabbits in the wild and captivity are on high alert at all times.
Other household pets, outside animals, or even the pet owner coming unexpectedly can startle a rabbit and wake them up instantly.
This is the reason you may wonder why you never see your rabbit sleeping.
How To Tell When a Rabbit Is Sleeping
Not all rabbits sleep with both of their eyes closed. They are very sensitive to noise and will awake at the slightest noise.
How can you tell if your pet rabbit is sleeping?
Slow Breathing – When the rabbits are asleep, their metabolism will slow down, which will cause their breathing to slow down as well.
Twitches – Like other animals, such as cats and dogs, rabbits might twitch their legs while sleeping. This usually happens during a dream.
Bunny loaf position – When rabbits are sleeping or relaxing, they curl up in a loaf position with relaxed ears, legs tucked under their body, and head down.
Nose twitching or wiggles – When a rabbit is awake, you’ll notice that its nose twitches and wiggles. This is normal behavior for rabbits.
On the other hand, when a rabbit is sleeping, there will be no nose movement.
Relaxed Ears – This is the easiest way to tell if the rabbit is sleeping.
Their ears will stand up when they are awake and alert. When they are asleep, their ears will lie flat and relaxed.
Above are the most common features of sleeping rabbits. Each rabbit has its own personality and way of sleeping.
For example, my pet rabbit goes to his favorite corner of his cage while sleeping.
How Long Do Rabbits Sleep?
In a single day, rabbits will sleep for up to 11 hours. However, they don’t usually sleep for 11 hrs straight.
Instead, rabbits take small naps throughout the day. At night, they may sleep for four hours straight.
Indoor rabbits tend to sleep longer than those in the wild. Pet rabbits feel more secure, and they will sleep longer.
On the other hand, wild rabbits take short naps, even at night. They do this to be on alert for dangers and predators.
However, if a rabbit sleeps too long, there could be a health problem like sickness or injury. An ill rabbit doesn’t move around a lot and sleeps more often.
The same goes for when they are injured, either from other rabbits in the cage or while out playing.
It is essential to check for other signs when they sleep longer than usual. Observe how active they are when awake and check their eating habits.
If they are not active and not eating food, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong with them. A visit to the vet will help determine if there is an issue.
Do Rabbits Sleep with Their Eyes Open or Closed?
Some rabbits sleep with their eyes open, and some sleep with their eyes closed.
A couple of factors determine if they sleep with their eyes closed or open: how safe they feel and their personality.
If the rabbit doesn’t feel secure or sense danger, it will sleep with one eye open or both eyes open.
Rabbits in captivity, where they are secured in a cage, will usually sleep with their eyes closed.
During the first few weeks, they may sleep with their eyes open. Once they get used to their environment and feel safe, they sleep with both eyes closed.
Some rabbits will never close their eyes at all when they fall asleep.
This is a personality trait they were born with. It’s normal if your rabbit never closes their eyes when they sleep.
For rabbits that never close their eyes, you may wonder why their eyes don’t dry out.
Rabbits have a nictitating membrane called a “third eyelid.” This translucent film blinks across their eyes to keep them moist.
When Do Rabbits Sleep?
Are rabbits nocturnal animals? Rabbits are neither nocturnal animals (active at night) nor diurnal animals (active during the day). Instead, rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are active in the morning and evening. (1)
They develop this habit through evolution to protect themselves from predators. Rabbits become active during these hours when it’s easiest to hide from most predators.
Due to instinct, your pet rabbit will also be active during these hours.
Therefore, the hours of 4-9 am and 5-11 pm are when they are most active. The exact time will depend on your location, the season, and the rabbit’s personality.
Most rabbits sleep in two main phases. The first sleep will occur from late morning to early afternoon. During this period, they will take a couple of short naps.
The second sleep will happen in the middle of the night. At night, they may sleep up to three hours.
Besides these two sleep phases, your pet rabbit will be chewing on food, playing, or relaxing.
How to Make a Rabbit Sleep at Night?
Rabbits tend to be noisy when they are awake. They seem to never stay in one place. They’re probably digging, playing with toys, and running if they are not chewing their food.
At night, rabbits are still active and will do the same things they do during the day.
In captivity, fortunately, pet rabbits can be trained to go to sleep or at least stay quiet at night. Below are some tips to help your rabbit be less noisy at night:
1. Keep your rabbit active.
This is a great way to keep them quiet at night. A couple of hours before bed, let them run outside their cage and play with them.
When tired from all the activity, they tend to relax at night.
2. Keep the rabbit outside the cage.
When kept in a cage, they tend to get bored and start to dig and chew on things.
Instead of keeping them in the cage at night, let them loose in a secured area. If you have a spare room, place them in the room before you head to bed.
The larger the space is, the less likely they will engage in noisy activities that disturb your sleep.
3. Put a blanket over the cage.
Right before going to bed, place a light-colored blanket covering the entire cage.
This will help them stay calm and keep them from digging and chewing on things in the cage.
4. Add another rabbit.
Rabbits are social animals and like to be in a large community. This gives them protection and security.
Having two rabbits in the cage at night will make them feel secure. This makes them stay calm and even sleep longer at night.
5. Keep the rabbit in a hutch.
A hutch is darker and smaller than a cage. This will make them feel more secure since it’s similar to their warren in the wild.
Don’t forget to check my guide on other interesting facts about rabbits.
Do Rabbits Sleep In The Dark?
Rabbits do sleep in the dark. During the night, the rabbits will sleep for a more extended period.
Do rabbits dream?
Yes, like humans, rabbits dream. You might notice their head, cheeks, or legs twitching when they are dreaming. This is myoclonic action happening when the rabbit is asleep. (2)
If you have ever asked yourself, “Do rabbits sleep?” you know that rabbits are active in the morning and night, taking naps interspersed between their periods of activity.
Rabbits don’t sleep for prolonged periods because of their instinct to protect themselves from predators.
What have you noticed about your pet rabbit’s sleeping habits? Let me know in the comments section!
- 1. Miller-Black J. Word of the Week: Crepuscular – Nature Centre [Internet]. High Park Nature Centre. 2020, Available from: https://highparknaturecentre.com/index.php/blog/2020/word-of-the-week-crepuscular
- 2. Myoclonus [Internet]. Wikipedia. 2022. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myoclonus
Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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