Rabbits are crepuscular animals and are most active at dawn and dusk. This means that rabbits are active from dawn to mid-morning, they sleep in the middle of the day, and they are also awake in the evenings.
This is the rabbit’s biology and we can’t change that because they don’t sleep all at once like humans, which could be difficult if your rabbit is still demanding your attention when it’s your bedtime.
So your routine and that of your bunny wouldn’t quite match. They are awake before you are, and on some occasions, they still stay up late when you go to bed.
Confused about what time you should be putting your bunny to bed? Then there’s only one way to find out.
What time should you put your bunny to bed?
Before we find out what time to say goodnight to your rabbit, why exactly is your rabbit still hyper at night?
Why is your bunny awake at night?
A study by ScienceDirect shows that rabbits sleep an average of 11.4 hours per day. 25.9% of which was drowsy, 64.5% slow wave sleep, and 9.6% paradoxical sleep.
Rabbits sleep from 8 to 11 hours a day, and most of that is done in the middle of the day while you’re out of your house. In the evenings, they’re super active and ready to be entertained, and like kids, they’re just not sleepy yet.
This is because bunnies are crepuscular animals. Crepuscular is derived from a Latin word, crepusculum, which means twilight.
The thing is, rabbits are prey animals who feel safe away from predators when the sun is lowest in the sky because, at that period, nocturnal animals and diurnal animals like owls and hawks can’t see, which makes things easy for your rabbit.
So your bunny is hyper at night or in the evenings because she’s relaxed and simply thinks it’s time to play, even when it’s your bedtime.
What can you do about it: how to help your rabbit sleep at night
To make things comfortable for you and your rabbit, I’ve compiled a few tips to help your rabbit sleep well at night.
- Exercise: Rabbits are social animals, and they hate spending time alone. During the evenings, take time to bond with them.
Allow them to move around the house, and get them a few toys to play with, so when it’s time for you to go to bed, your rabbit will be worn out, which relieves the pressure of having to leave your rabbit alone.
- Make them comfortable: Another problem you might face is your rabbit protesting against not going back to their hutch. In situations like this, check their hutch, and as rabbits grow faster, make sure it’s always 3 to 4 times their size.
The most important thing here is to always observe your rabbits before putting them to bed.
- Place a blanket on their hutch to make them know it’s bedtime: Cover their hutch with a light blanket to make them realize it’s time for bed. This would change the mood and lighting of the room and might even help with calming them.
- Turn off lights: Rabbits need sunlight patterns to be awake and asleep. You’re doing them a huge favor by turning off your blue lights because exposure to blue light is harmful to rabbits, especially albino and pigmented ones.
- Shut down any noise: A rabbit’s hearing range is from 360hz to 42,000hz, which is sharper than that of an average human.
Avoid making noise, as rabbits are light sleepers and any movement could startle them from their sleep, which could lead to you dealing with a grumpy rabbit. So shut down the TV sound and don’t make any noise.
Your rabbit might still be active after trying everything on this list, but if they keep thumping up, trying to demand attention, you will have to ignore them, and if you can’t, turn to play soothing sounds to help you and your rabbit sleep.
Again, if your rabbit isn’t sleeping or is sleeping too much, you might need to visit the vet as it could be a sign of illness.
Finally, put your rabbit to bed before doing the same for yourself.
How can you know if your rabbit is asleep?
- Your rabbit would be still while sleeping, which means zero to no movement.
- Their earlobes are relaxed against their body. If your rabbit’s ear is perked up, then it’s still awake.
- A rabbit’s nose is always twitching, but if they were asleep, then their nose wouldn’t be moving.
- Their breathing is slower. Like humans when sleeping, rabbits also breathe slowly.
- You notice them twitch. This is the REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) experienced by humans while dreaming. If your rabbit twitches, then she could be dreaming.
- Some rabbits snore. If you hear a light purring sound, then your bunny is fast asleep.
Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?
Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open, and this is because they have three eyelids, and the third one is known as the nictitating membrane.
The purpose of the nictitating membrane is to keep the rabbit’s eye moist and to also act as a shield against dust and dirt.
Another reason why rabbits sleep with their eyes open is predators. Your rabbit is asleep but alert because these predators are more likely to leave when they realize the bunny is awake.
Should I shut my rabbit up at night?
You should always make sure your rabbit is in its hutch by the time you go to bed. This is because leaving them to roam around the house means they will chew on anything in sight, and in some cases, this could be harmful to them.
Secondly, rabbits are curious animals and might find ways to wander out of the house if possible. The thing is, for safety purposes, you should be putting your bunny to bed before doing the same.
Do bunnies need light at night?
Bunnies do not need light at night. They need the natural light patterns to help manage their hormones, and aside from that, to save them from being irritated, avoid turning on lights for them.
Can I sleep with my bunny?
Sleeping with a bunny creates an emotional bond between the two of you, but there are downsides to sleeping with your rabbit.
- You’re bigger than they are. This means if you move at night, you might end up crushing or injuring them, which is something to avoid.
- Your bed height. Your bed could be too high, and if your rabbit needs to come down, that could be difficult and could end up hurting them.
- Health. If you have health issues like asthma, then sharing a bed with a furry friend will only make it worse.
- Temperature levels. Rabbits prefer cooler temperatures as they already have fur, and that’s why they spread out whenever it’s hot. Humans use duvets or blankets, which might be too hot for your rabbit.
- Hygiene. Rabbits are extremely territorial animals and like to mark space with their scent or urine. What’s even worse is that smelling their urine on your bed could make them repeat the same thing, and they could also bring germs to the bed.
So, while you do want to bond with your pet, consider these things before bringing a bunny to your bed.
And if you really want to have your rabbit around you, create a space beside your bed for their hutch. That way, you stay safe from health and hygiene issues and also show your pet that she’s important.
Bunnies are great to own, but adequately taking care of them takes a lot of effort.
At the same time, you never have to worry about them being alone when you’re out because they’re sleeping, and with these tips, you’re in for a great experience even when your bunny is still awake.