How Do Rabbits Sleep? A Guide to Rabbits’ Sleeping Habits

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How Do Rabbits Sleep?

Like humans, rabbits need sleep to allow their body and mind to recharge so they can remain healthy and function properly. To ensure he gets enough rest, provide your bunny with a safe and quiet environment on top of the comfy bedding.

To achieve this, you need to understand his sleep habits, particularly how and when he sleeps. If you can’t tell if he is sleeping or just lying still, it will be hard to provide a sleep-friendly environment that allows him to get quality sleep.

Did you just get a rabbit and don’t know much about its sleeping habits? I’m here to help. This article educates you on how rabbits sleep when they sleep and answers more related questions to keep you informed. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

How Do Rabbits Sleep?

Rabbits like to sleep together. They are prey animals, so they prefer being in the company of their kind to increase defense against predators. 

In addition, rabbits are social creatures, so they will play, feed, and sleep together. That’s why you are advised to get a bonded pair, so he has someone to snuggle up with.

Unlike humans who sleep throughout the night, rabbits wake up intermittently at night and sleep more during the day. This limits their activities when predators are most active, keeping them safe from both diurnal and nocturnal predators. 

Bunnies sleep in adorable positions. They often curl up into a furry ball, especially if the weather is cold, so they can limit the amount of their body exposed to cold air. 

It must be cute! Imagine three rabbits curled up together; those are three furry balls.

Often, their paws will be snuggled close to their stomachs in this position. But if it’s hot, they may splay themselves and sleep apart to allow airflow around them. They don’t need to conserve heat when it’s hot, so the task will be to prevent one part of the body from another. 

Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?

Some people assume rabbits don’t sleep because they’ve never seen them sleeping. After all, bunnies are always running around or lying still with their eyes wide open. So when do they sleep?

Interestingly, rabbits often sleep with their eyes open. So chances are, while you think he is lying still relaxing, he might be deep into dreamland. Besides, rabbits don’t sleep throughout the night like humans. 

They sleep for short periods at night and during the day. I should also note that not all rabbits sleep with their eyes closed. Some will close their eyes but keep them open when they sense movement. 

But we can establish that all rabbits are light sleepers, whether they close or open their eyes when sleeping, mainly because all bunnies are prey animals. 

And if some rabbits sleep with their eyes open, do their eyes ever dry out? Not really; all rabbits have a translucent film, often referred to as a “third eyelid,” which allows them to blim across the eye, leaving it moist.

Why do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?

Rabbit sleeping on grass
Rabbit sleeping on grass

As I said, this is a defense mechanism that rabbits use to escape predators. It works by giving the illusion that they are awake, and because a predator is more likely to attack a sleeping rabbit since it’s considered less alert, they escape being preyed on.

Besides, light can easily reach open eyes, so if there is danger approaching, a rabbit will know sooner than if his eyes are closed. All these, together with their insects, coordinate to help them evade predators.

Can rabbits see while sleeping?

It’s easy to assume rabbits can see while sleeping because their eyes are open. Well, this is not the case.

Except for the above advantages, rabbits don’t see while sleeping. 

How Do You Tell If a Rabbit is Sleeping?

Is he lying still or sleeping? It’s hard to tell, especially if you’re a new rabbit parent. Luckily, some tricks can help you differentiate.

To start with, understand that your bunny is crepuscular, which means he is most active at twilight, in the morning hours, and between sunset and full night. Therefore, he is likely to rest in the afternoon and late at night. 

If you’re keen, you’ll see him still at this time; chances are he is sleeping, not just lying still. To know if he is sleeping, pay attention to:

  • The ears are because a sleeping bunny will have his ears relaxed and lying against his head while an awake one will have upright ears. 
  • Breathing rate: As your bunny sleeps, his breathing slows down.
  • The nose: an alert bunny will always twitch its nose, but the moment he sleeps, there is less to zero twitching.
  • He will also be still and sometimes snore in his sleep. 
  • If you own several of them, chances are they will snuggle up together when sleeping, especially if it’s cold.

Do Rabbits Sleep Through the Night?

Not really; rabbits will sleep in the afternoon and late at night. 

Most people assume rabbits are nocturnal, but the truth is, that they are crepuscular. As a result, they are active in the morning, so they will eat and play more at this time and then catch some sleep in the afternoon.

They will then remain active between sunset and full night, then sleep late at night. Since most of us are asleep at this time, we rarely notice the routine and assume rabbits sleep through the night as we do.

How Many Hours Do Rabbits Sleep?

Rabbits sleep seven to twelve hours, depending on the environment. If it’s quiet and there’s no distraction, your bunny will maximize his sleeping hours to get the most out of it. 

But if there is noise and a lot of movement, your bunny will have trouble sleeping, especially since he is a light sleeper. He will sleep for a few hours and keep waking up to check the surroundings.

This is not good because he might not get quality sleep, which means less rest, which also affects how he functions. Sleep is as crucial to your bunny as it is to you. Ensure he has comfortable bedding and that the environment allows him to rest peacefully.

How do rabbits sleep, How do rabbits sleep in the wild, How do rabbits sleep with their eyes open

Final Thoughts

Rabbits have a different sleeping routine as they will sleep both at night and during the day. However, they are always alert in case there are predators around.

Check your bunny’s sleeping position and breathing rate to know if he is sleeping, and keep it quiet if he is.

Photo of author


Jennifer Bourassa is a passionate animal lover and the founder of The Rabbit Retreat, a website dedicated to educating rabbit owners and providing them with the necessary resources to care for their furry friends. With over a decade of experience in rabbit care, Jennifer is a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate for these beloved pets. Jennifer's love for rabbits started when she adopted her first bunny, Thumper, and quickly realized the joy and challenges that come with rabbit ownership. Since then, she has made it her mission to help other rabbit owners navigate the ins and outs of bunny care, from feeding and grooming to housing and more. With The Rabbit Retreat, Jennifer hopes to build a community of like-minded rabbit enthusiasts who can share their experiences and support one another in providing the best possible care for their furry companions.