If you have cared for a pet rabbit for quite a while now, you may have noticed how they are almost always awake when you see them. It’s like these pets never go to sleep!
Perhaps you may have asked yourself the question of when and how do rabbits sleep or if they even sleep at all. Don’t worry, they do.
Rabbits and Their Sleep Habits
Rabbits need ample hours of sleep, just like how humans do. So, yes, rabbits sleep too. If you haven’t seen your rabbit asleep yet, perhaps you miss it every time they do.
Rabbits are prey animals, and because of this, they are constantly vigilant of their surroundings. When you first take them home, it might take a while to adjust.
They still need time figuring out whether they are safe with you around or not. This is why it’s essential to build a safe environment for them. This way, your rabbit will be comfortable showing his personality with you or other people inside the house.
Many people assume that rabbits are nocturnal every time they spot their pets sleeping during the daytime. However, rabbits are not nocturnal animals. Rabbits are crepuscular animals.
Crepuscular originated from the Latin word “twilight,” Thus, they are lively and awake during twilight, dusk, and dawn. They deem this time the safest time to feed and be active, doing activities.
They then sleep in the middle of the day and at night. Rabbits typically sleep for up to 12 hours a day. They complete their 7-12 hours of sleep by combining the hours they sleep in the middle of the day and at night.
Your pet rabbit has a different sleeping routine than you. This is normal because rabbits are prey animals.
They are always on the lookout for anything that may pose a danger to them. And for this, they are light sleepers. This means that they have shorter and sometimes interrupted hours of sleep.
How Do Rabbits Sleep?
You might wonder how your rabbit sleeps as you may have not yet “seen” them do so. These creatures are very different from how humans sleep.
And if you ever heard of the rumors that they sleep with eyes open, it’s true. Indeed, these animals can sleep with their eyes open. You may not notice it, but they might be sneaking a nap right in front of you.
They learn to sleep with their eyes open for self-defense. In the wild, predators will prefer to attack sleeping rabbits as these rabbits don’t have time and are not alert enough to escape, unlike those that are fast asleep.
And so, they create an illusion. Another advantage for them is they are quicker to react to approaching danger as light reaches their eyes more quickly when it’s open.
This doesn’t mean that they do this every time they sleep; rabbits also sleep with closed eyes, depending on the situation. When a rabbit feels safe and secure in their environment, they close their eyes and sleep. Here are some ways to tell if your rabbit is sleeping.
- When your rabbit is sleeping, it will not be moving. They will be peacefully staying in a comfortable position for them and will not be moving so much as they are fast asleep in relaxation.
- If you happen to have a rabbit with ears all pricked up, they tend to relax when they fall asleep. On the other hand, some rabbit breeds naturally have relaxed ears like a lop rabbit, so it might be hard to tell whether their ears are comfortable because of sleep or just customarily relaxed. When asleep, their ears will usually be lying down against their heads.
- Relaxed face, specifically their nose. When awake, their nose tends to twitch non-stop but not when they’re sleeping.
- When asleep, rabbits also tend to slow their breathing, just like humans do whenever they are sleeping.
- There are also instances where you may hear your rabbit snoring. Yes, rabbits snore, too, just like how humans do!
Rabbit Sleeping Positions
Rabbits have their body language, and being in different environments affects their body language. This is the same way humans act differently when interacting with other people.
This applies to your rabbit’s sleeping position too. They are very vigilant and careful around where they sleep and rest, as they were built to be mindful of possible threats around them.
You may see your bunny in their loaf position. It’s called bunny loaf for a reason. This position mimics a loaf of bread, only fluffier.
They do this by curling or tucking their soft front legs into their fluffy chest and relaxing their ears by laying it along their spine. Your rabbit will practically look like a fluffy loaf of bread with ears!
This is when your rabbit lays down on its tummies or sides. Their back legs will then be stretched out behind them, along with their small fluffy tail.
They will either rest their heads with their front paws or keep their head up in this position. If your rabbit does this near you, this means that they are comfortable around you.
When you see your rabbit lying down with their sides and with all their four legs relaxing on one side, do not panic. Most first-time rabbit owners may be alarmed when they see this position as it looks like their rabbit has fallen and died.
This is an excellent sign for you and your rabbit. When they do this around you, it’s considered a high compliment coming from them. It means they trust you so much. They also get a more profound and more admirable sleep in this position.
Rabbit Sleeping Conditions
Just like how humans twist and turn depending on the room temperature and level of comfort, so does your rabbit. They scan and sleep by how comfortable it is.
One of the factors for their comfort and sleeping position is temperature. They will probably go into the sprawled or flopped position when it’s warmer.
This way, their body is in contact with the cool surface of your floor. This way, they avoid overheating. On the other hand, they would usually get into the loaf position to keep heat from escaping when it’s colder.
The most recommended thing for your rabbit and the lighting is to make sure you give them ample natural light. This way, they can maintain their natural sleeping pattern, which is also beneficial for their health.
There’s nothing much to worry about lighting and their sleep pattern as they can usually sleep fine during any time of the day. As long as they are given natural light, they will know when to sleep.
When keeping a pet rabbit inside the house, it’s essential to give them a pleasant and comfortable place to stay, rest, sleep, eat, and enjoy their leisure time.
You may want to put up a bed or something soft for them to lay down on. It would also be comfortable for them to have their stock of hay and vegetables nearby.
They could probably sleep at any part of the house they feel safe in, but it would be good to have their nook. This might add comfort to their everyday life.
Rabbits And Sleep: Frequently Asked Questions
Can my rabbit sleep beside me at night?
If they are comfortable enough with you, then they can. However, the issue lies in their size and tendency to mark territories. Sleeping beside your rabbit may put them to danger as they are much smaller than you, and you might roll over them while you sleep, inflicting injury or even death.
Second, rabbits tend to mark their territory by scent or urine, so they might urinate on your bed and carry germs too. So, hygienically speaking, and for the safety of your rabbit, it’s best to sleep apart.
Do rabbits dream?
While there is no specific way to determine whether they dream or not, pieces of evidence point to yes, rabbits dream as they are usually in the REM form of sleep.
Do rabbits like to sleep with other rabbits?
Rabbits are amiable animals, so they are happy to have companions. However, they take time and get to know other rabbits too. And so, once they are well acquainted and perhaps, friends, they would sleep together all fuzzy and comfortably.
Can rabbits see while sleeping?
While they can sleep with their eyes open, this does not necessarily mean seeing. Their eyes are just more sensitive to light when sleeping like this. Thus, giving them the benefit of noticing and moving faster when they sense danger.
Caring for your rabbit requires your knowledge of when and how rabbits sleep. This is an essential thing to know even before getting a rabbit. This way, you ensure their good health and safety.
It might be quite a challenge to adjust, but with the proper research, readings, and interaction with your pet, you’ll get the hang of it.