3 Common Rabbit Sleeping Habits You Need to Know

Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by

Ever wondered how rabbits sleep or do bunnies sleep at all? Wondering whether a rabbit sleeps with its eyes open? Well, if you read on, we have answers to all of these questions (and a few more to boot!). In fact, we are going to tell you everything that you really need to know about rabbit sleeping.

Whether you’re interested in getting yourself a furry rabbit or trying to understand your pet bunny better, you might be wondering about their typical daily routines. Like us, bunnies and rabbits also need their beauty sleep. 

So to help you out, here’s a guide about bunny sleeping, as well as 3 common rabbit sleeping habits you should be aware of.

Cute bunny sleeping
Bunny Sleeping

When Does Your Rabbit Sleep? 

Like people and the majority of animals, it’s also important for rabbits to get sleep. However, their sleeping patterns are vastly different from ours as rabbits are crepuscular animals

This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk, and get their sleep during the middle of the day, as well as during the night. 

This is why you may have noticed that your rabbit is super active when you’re trying to sleep or running around during the mornings. 

While your bunny is guaranteed safe inside your home, their sleeping patterns are still similar to their brothers in the wild that are always trying to escape predators usually active during dawn and dusk. 

Because it’s easier to spot predators when the sun is at a low angle, rabbits get out of their burrows to search for food and socialize with other fellow rabbits during dawn and dusk. 

This behavior is instilled even in domesticated rabbits that have been bred in captivity. 

Common Rabbit Daily Routine and Sleeping Pattern 

Usually, a rabbit’s day is as follows. They wake up at dawn and spend their mornings being active before looking for food. If they’re domesticated, however, then they will spend their mornings eating, grooming, playing, or doing anything that will use up their energy.

After that, rabbits usually go back to sleeping in their den or stretching out under the sun for a nap. But while they often spend long hours just sleeping, they can also go up to use the litter box or eats a snack. 

Come night-time, they will then wake up and repeat most of their morning activities, although it’s recommended that the best time to play with them is during the morning. 

They will continue being active late into the evening, and will then nap for a few hours until dawn to repeat their day all over again. On average, they can sleep up to 11 hours a day. 

Rabbits have also evolved to sleep in short bursts, so it’s a good idea to refrain from disturbing them during sleep times. It’s also ideal to make sure their food is always ready when they need it. 

Common Rabbit Sleeping Habits

In addition to their short and frequent sleep cycles, rabbits also have sleeping habits that you can easily observe. This includes:

1. Sleeping with their Eyes Open 

If your rabbit is very still and seems to be looking at you, then they might be sneaking a nap right in front of you. 

Often, rabbits sleep with their eyes open, as they have evolved to still be alert from predators even while resting.

Sleeping with eyes open is easy for a rabbit thanks to a thin, transparent membrane above their eyelid, which helps keep the eye moist. 

This means that rabbits don’t have to blink very often. However, a rabbit can also sleep with their eyes closed, especially if they feel very safe and comfortable in an environment. 

So if your rabbit always sleeps with its eyes closed, then you’re doing a great job of making them feel at home as a pet owner! 

When do rabbit sleep

2. Sleeping in Funny Positions 

Usually, rabbits sleep in the bunny loaf position, where they tuck their paws underneath their body and hunker down in a position that makes them look like a loaf of bread. 

Rabbits often sleep in this position as it’s easier for them to get up quickly and run when in danger. 

However, rabbits also sleep in more adorable positions, such as the sprawl and the flop. 

In the former, rabbits lay down with their back feet and tail stretched out behind them while in the latter, they will lie down on their side and close their eyes. 

Usually, a rabbit flopping down to sleep means that they feel very comfortable and safe.

3. Dreaming while Asleep 

Have you ever noticed your rabbit twitching its feet or nose as they are sleeping? If so, then this means that the rabbit is very deeply asleep, and even dreaming. 

Sometimes, they might kick their feet a little, or even twitch their mouth as if they’re trying to eat something.

In some cases, a rabbit can also start snoring, and it’s louder than you think. While healthy rabbits snore, a loudly snoring one should be taken to the vet for a checkup. 

How Long does a Rabbit Sleep Each Day?

Rabbits are not that much different from humans. Your average rabbit should be sleeping about 8-hours each and every day. Although, there is no real ‘set’ time that they will do this.

Although, you will likely find that your bunnies are less active during the day than they are in the evening and in the early hours of the morning.

Your rabbit will sleep at various times throughout the day. They aren’t like humans where all they need is one long sleep and then they are done.

Instead, the rabbit will break everything down into smaller periods of sleep of a few hours, with a small amount of napping here and there to make up the rest of their hours.

There is an evolutionary reason for this. If a rabbit was sleeping for eight hours per day in the wild, then they would probably be munched on by a predator if they were doing this all in one go.

Sleeping in smaller chunks throughout the day means that the rabbit is able to accomplish a whole lot more than they normally would.

Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

This is dependent on the rabbit. Some rabbits will sleep with their eyes open. However, even then, there is still a chance that they will not. It is going to be dependent on how the rabbit actually ‘feels’.

Rabbit sleeping

If they are feeling safe, then the rabbit is able to relax a little bit more and close its eyes. This means that for domesticated rabbits, it will be rare to see them with their eyes open when they sleep.

That is not to say that they will not do it if they feel safe, it is just rarer for them to do so.

It is worth noting that even though rabbits may have their eyes open when they are sleeping, they are not going to be sleeping in the same way as a bird.

Many birds will actually have half of their brain awake when they are sleeping, hence their eyes being fully open. Rabbits will be fully asleep. However, they are still going to be fairly alert.

A rabbit that is asleep while its eyes are open will be more sensitive to light. If their eyes detect a change in light (and a big one), then the rabbit will likely wake up.

It is also worth noting that, technically, the bunny won’t actually be sleeping with its eyes open either. They will have an eyelid covering their eyes. It is just a ‘see-through’ one. This helps to ensure that the rabbit’s eyes do not completely dry out when they are sleeping.

How Do Rabbits Sleep?

If you have multiple bunnies, you will likely notice that the bunnies sleep at the same time. They will often huddle up quite close to one another too. Again, there is an evolutionary reason for this.

It helps to protect the rabbit from predators. Even if you have a domesticated rabbit that is unlikely to ever come into contact with predators, they are still going to have these natural instincts.

Ideally, you will not want to disturb the rabbit when they are sleeping. After all, a sleeping rabbit is likely to be quite jumpy.

Again, this is a natural instinct. Sure, they know that you are their owner (hopefully), but you do not want to scare them.

The problem is that it can be dreadfully difficult to spot when a rabbit is actually asleep, particularly if they have their eyes open at the same time.

So, how do you tell when rabbits are sleeping? The trick is to look at their breathing patterns. Just like you and I, when a rabbit sleeps, its breathing is going to slow down.

It may be a bit deeper. In some bunnies, you may even notice that they start to snore a little bit. Although, you may need to get up close to your rabbit to notice this. It can be tough to see when rabbits are breathing at the best of times.

A sleepy rabbit will also look a little bit more relaxed. When they are sleeping, they are going to be more sprawled out. Their eyes are going to rest on their head too (i.e. they are not going to be sticking straight up).

When a bunny is sleeping you will also likely notice that its nose and feet stop twitching. They look incredibly tranquil!

Remember; it won’t take much to actually wake up a sleeping rabbit, and if there are constant disturbances, then it may leave them on edge. If you are raising a rabbit in your home, then you may want to provide a quiet place where they can rest.

This means being out of the way of other pets and family members.

When Does Rabbit Sleep? Are They Nocturnal?

A common misconception is that rabbits are nocturnal creatures. While you may find that your bunny is a bit more active during the evening hours, this is not always going to be the case.

Rabbits are most active when it is a little bit darker outside (this is to help protect them from predators), but this does not mean that the rabbit is going to be running around throughout the day either.

Because rabbits are not nocturnal (they are what is known as ‘crepuscular‘) they are going to be most active during the latter part of the evening, and early in the morning. This means that rabbits will sleep during the rest of the day.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. Pretty much everything that you need to know about a rabbit and sleeping. One final point to mention, though.

If you believe that your rabbit sleeping habits are not normal (i.e. they seem to be sleeping too little or too much), then this could indicate a serious health issue. In that case, we believe that you should take the rabbit to the vet as soon as possible.

This will ensure that your rabbit can be treated for whatever ails them.