Owning a pet rabbit is something that many people enjoy having around. Their cute and very playful animal. You’re always learning something new about them. One of the most common things that many owners wonder about is their sleeping habits. For some reason, your pet rabbit seems like they are always awake.
So do rabbits sleep? Rabbits do sleep and they love sleeping. For a typical rabbit, on average, they will sleep up to 11 hours each day. Rabbits sleep both during the day time and night time. Instead of sleeping long hours, they take short naps throughout the day.
How Much Do Rabbits Sleep?
A rabbit will need about 11 hours a sleep a day. If they are sleeping less than that, this may be a sign of a medical problem. Often, they will sleep taking short naps throughout the day and at night. 11 hours of sleep each day will keep your pet rabbit happy and healthy.
However, the actual amount of time a rabbit sleep will depend on many factors. Their sleep is affected by the season, if they feel safe, and their age.
Rabbits in the wild and in captivity differ in the amount of sleep they get each day. In the wild, rabbits will need to be on a constant watch for predators and other dangers. Therefore, they will take a short nap consisting of an hour or shorter. Again, they need to be on alert at all times of the day and night for dangers.
In captivity, where they feel safer, rabbits will tend to sleep a little bit longer. Like rabbits in the wild, their natural instinct will allow them to only take short naps throughout the day.
Both rabbits in the wild and captivity are always on high alert at all times. Regardless if it’s a pet in the house, birds at the window, or even the pet owner coming toward the cage, they will instantly wake up. This is the reason you may wonder why you never see your rabbit sleeping.
How To Tell When a Rabbit Is Sleeping
Rabbits don’t sleep with both of their eyes closed. They are very sensitive to noise and will awake at the slightest noise. Therefore, how can you tell if your pet rabbit is sleeping or not?
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 when they are sleeping. This usually happens during a dream.
Bunny loaf position – When the rabbits are sleeping or relaxing, they will start to curl up in a position similar to a loaf of bread. Their legs will be tucked under their body, their head is facing down, and the ears are relaxed.
Nose twitching or wiggles – When a rabbit is awake, you’ll notice that their nose is always twitching or wiggling. This is normal behavior for rabbits. On the other hand, when a rabbit is sleeping, there will be no more movement.
Relaxed Ears – This is the easiest way to tell if the rabbit is sleeping. When they are awake, their ears will stand up and be on alert. When they are asleep, their ears will lay flat and relaxed.
Above are the most common features for a rabbit when they are sleeping. Each rabbit has its own personality and different ways of sleeping. For example, my pet rabbit will go to his favorite corner of his cage when he is sleeping.
How Long Should a Rabbit 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 tend to take small naps throughout the day. At night they may sleep for 4 hours straight.
Rabbits in captivity tend to sleep longer than those in the wild. Pet rabbits feel more secure and they will sleep longer.
Wild rabbits, on the other hand, will take a short burst of naps, even at night. They do this to be on alert for dangers and predators.
However, a rabbit that is sleeping too long, there could be a problem with them. They could be either sick or have an injury.
When they sleep longer than normal, they may be sick. A rabbit that is ill tend to not move around a lot and will sleep more often and longer.
The same goes for when they are injured. This could be an injury from other rabbits in the cage or while they were out playing.
When they are sleeping longer than usual, check for other signs too. Observe how active they are when they are awake. See if the rabbit is eating normally as usual.
If they are not active and not eating any food, even their favorite food, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong with them. You should take them to the veterinary as soon as possible to see what’s the issue is.
Do Rabbits Sleep with Their Eyes Open or Closed?
Some rabbits will sleep with their eyes open and some will sleep with the eyes closed. There are a couple of different factors that determine if they sleep with the eyes closed or open.
One of them will depend on It depends on how safe it feels. If the rabbit doesn’t feel secure or they sense danger, they will sleep with just one eye open or both eyes open.
For rabbits in captivity, where they are secured in a cage, they will usually sleep with their eyes closed. During the first couple of weeks, they may sleep with the eyes open. After a while, once they get used to their environment and feel safe, they tend to sleep with both of their eyes closed.
Another factor is their personality. Some rabbits will simply never close their eyes at all when they fall asleep. This is something that they were born with and it’s normal if you’re rabbit never closes their eyes when they sleep.
Since your pet rabbit never closes their eyes, you may wonder why your rabbit’s eyes don’t dry out. Rabbits have a nictitating membrane which is also called a “third eyelid”. This is a translucent film that blinks across their eyes to keep it moist.
When Do Rabbits Sleep?
Rabbits are one of those animals that are neither nocturnal (active at night) nor diurnal (active during the day). Instead, rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are active during the morning and in the evening.
They develop this habit through evolution and this is to protect them from predators. Rabbits become active during these hours is when it’s easiest to hide from most predators. Due to instinct, your pet rabbit will be active during these hours as well.
Therefore, during the hours of 4-9 am and 5-11 pm is when they are most active. The exact time will depend on your location, the season, and their personality.
For most rabbits, they will sleep in two main phases. The first sleep will occur from late morning into the afternoon. During this period, they will take a couple of short naps and be less active.
The second sleep will happen in the middle of the night. At night, they may sleep longer and it could last up to 3 hours.
Besides those two phases, your pet rabbit will be chewing on food, playing, or just relaxing.
How to Make a Rabbit Sleep at Night
When rabbits are awake, these animals tend to be noisy. They seem to never stay in one place. If they are not chewing on their food, they’ll probably be digging, play with toys, and run all over the place.
Unfortunately, at night, rabbits are still active and will do the same things they do during the day. This is their natural habit and you won’t be able to force them to sleep at night.
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:
Keep your rabbit active. This is a great way to keep them quiet at night. A couple of hours before bed, let them run around outside their cage and play with them. When they are tired from all the activity, they will tend to relax at night.
Keep the rabbit outside the cage. When they are kept in a cage, they tend to get bored and will 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 there before you head to bed. The larger the space is, the less likely they will engage in these activities.
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.
Add another rabbit. Rabbits are social animals and like to be in a large community. This gives them protection and security. At night, by having two rabbits in the cage, it will make them feel secure. This makes them stay calm and even sleep longer at night.
Keep the rabbit in a hutch. Hutch is darker and smaller than a cage. This will make them feel more secure since it’s almost like their warren in the wild.
Do Rabbits Sleep In The Dark?
Rabbits do sleep in the dark. During this time of the day, the rabbits will sleep longer since they are not that active at night.
Do rabbits dream?
Yes, like humans, rabbits do dream. When they are dreaming, you might notice their head, cheek, or legs twitching. This is the myoclonic action happening when the rabbit is asleep.