Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open? The answer is yes! Many believe that rabbits do not sleep because their eyes are open all the time.
But rabbits can sleep with their eyes partially open or fully open. They can sleep with their eyes fully closed, depending on the circumstances.
3 Reasons why rabbits sleep with their eyes open
One of the reasons rabbits sleep with their eyes open is their third eyelid. It is also known as the nictitating membrane. Since it is transparent, rabbits can close the eyelid while looking awake.
Plus, this part of their eyes makes them sensitive to the changes and the movement of the light. Whenever a predator is near them, they can quickly determine it.
Rabbits’ strange manner of sleeping gives a false idea to the predators that they are awake. Instead of attacking them immediately, predators may hesitate. It gives the rabbits a chance to escape or run away. Keeping their eyes open while sleeping protects them from their predators.
When rabbits don’t feel safe with their surroundings, they tend to keep their eyes open even when at sleep. If your rabbit is in a safe place, its eyes are partially or fully closed while sleeping in the morning.
But if you see that its eyes are open while having a nap, it can be a sign that your rabbit is threatened in its environment.
Aside from feeling unsafe, your rabbit may not also like the temperature in its resting place. If it’s too hot or too cold, it will cause discomfort to your pet. Another reason is that it may feel uncomfortable with its blanket.
Tips to take care of the rabbits while they are asleep
Although rabbits have an automatic reaction to defend themselves, owners must protect them. Unlike other pets with sharp teeth, rabbits are helpless when faced with predators. Plus, their lives are more at risk when they are asleep. Here are some tips so you can ensure their safety:
Provide safe and comfortable cages or areas
As an owner, you will need to provide a safe or comfortable cage for your rabbit to keep them safe. If they live outside your house, make sure that you notice if some predators are lurking.
Aside from that, putting cover in their cages helps a lot. However, there must still be a contrast of light and darkness for their body clock.
If you have made housing for your rabbit, ensure that it is high-quality and made of sturdy materials. The resting area must be large enough for the rabbits to stretch out and lie down fully. A broad area is more suitable for them to move and exercise around.
Keep them away from your other predator pets
Keep them away from your rabbit if you have other pets like dogs and cats. These pets may be loyal and kind to you, but don’t forget that there are still predators.
Dogs and cats tend to kill rabbits because of their natural hunting instincts. If your rabbit lives inside your home, ensure that it is in a separate room where your other pets cannot enter.
Provide adequate food and water
An adult rabbit must sleep 8.4 hours a day. However, they may lack sleep if they are sick. Always provide adequate food and water for your rabbit to keep them healthy. You will also need to clean its cage regularly. It will prevent parasites or bacteria from inhabiting its body.
Different Sleeping Positions of Rabbits
This position is very common and is also called “bunny bread”. It is a part of the routine of rabbits. They tuck their legs into their bodies with relaxed heads, ears, and eyes partially open. This position is observed when they are sleepy and comfortable.
With this position, rabbits look dead. They threw themselves onto their sides while their heads rested on the ground. They may look like a man that fell because of hunger and thirstiness. But this position demonstrates that they are having fun and are very comfortable.
The rabbits dream while they sleep. They have different movements connected with their dreams. They flopped over when they were dreaming. Maybe they dream about their companion or yummy foods, who knows?
This position is also called “Brooding Hen”. Rabbits are asleep but remain in their duty. Their eyes are opened, but their ears are relaxed. Although sleeping, they stay watchful. This position keeps them on guard.
Rabbits do this sleeping position when their front and high legs are stretched out. They looked like they had a Superman pose. The hind is above the air. It means that they are joyful and very relaxed.
Cuddler/ Snuggle Bun
Rabbits want to be cuddled all the time by their owners. They also want to sit in their owner’s lap and chest, laying and falling asleep. Sometimes, they cuddle with other rabbits to express their love.
In this position, rabbits sit like cats and dogs. The back is bent and stretched with the front paws facing forward. The hind legs are prepared for a rise. It seems as if they are waiting for someone to come.
Also known as “The Sunbather”, it combines Sphinx and flop. It begins with the Sphinx position.
Their back is like a flop position with their hind legs ready to kick. On the other hand, their heads are lifting with a slant. They look like very relaxed and confident rabbits. They also appear to be sunbathing.
Sleeping span of rabbits
According to the researchers, the sleeping span of rabbits can reach up to 11 hours long. They sleep not only at night but also during the day.
Sleeping is one of the activities that give them satisfaction and security. Contrary to the belief that rabbits don’t sleep at night, they sleep with their eyes open.
Rabbits’ eyes are always open in the evening. It is their nature to be on guard, especially at night, to avoid danger from predators.
Since morning is safer, they sleep with their eyes closed or partially closed. Rabbits are crepuscular animals, so they are more vibrant and alive at dawn and dusk.
Adult rabbits sleep for eight to twelve hours a day. Often, they have a light sleep depending on their places and environment. When they are in safe places, they can sleep deeply with dreams.
Rabbits’ sleeping time
Noontime is the nap time of rabbits. In the middle of the night, they are primarily awake doing their business and have time to sleep deeply. Instead of sleeping at once, they sleep in varied portions. Their usual time of sleep is almost eight hours a day.
Rabbits have a lot of activities to do to survive. They feel bored too, so they exercise by running and jumping. They also give ample time for eating and drinking. When active, rabbits can sleep quickly and deeply. They experience a deep sleep during noon and night most of the time.
Signs that Rabbit is Sleeping
Some rabbit owners are confused about whether their rabbits are sleeping or not. But there are signs that you can observe to determine if your rabbit is wide awake or falling asleep. Here are some of them:
- Noses and ears are not moving
- May snore
- Strange movements indicating that they are dreaming
- Slow breathing
- Ears are curled on the backside
- Eyes partially or fully close
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do rabbits usually sleep?
Rabbits can sleep anywhere, but there is a specific place they find relaxing. When in the wild, rabbits love to stay in the burrow.
It is a place where they can sleep well since they feel safe from predators. If you want to provide a comfortable rabbit, you can make a burrow its resting place.
What does atonic movement mean?
Atonic is a movement made by a rabbit when it drops on the ground with its eyes open, looking like a dead bunny. It regularly happens to rabbits who are flexible and fluid. Although it may look scary for an inexperienced owner, it is normal.
Can I make my rabbit sleep at night as humans do?
No, you can’t train rabbits to sleep at night. But if your pet is too noisy at night, you can give it a quiet toy that does not make irritable sounds when chewed.
Also, make them busy at the day to be calmer when night comes. You can keep a consistent schedule of their activities to know what they need at a specific time.
Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open? Absolutely! Rabbits require enough sleep. They need about eight to eleven hours of sleep to be healthy and happy.
As an owner, you can help them by providing a comfortable and safe place. Also, cuddling them will make them feel loved and secure.