Just like us, pet rabbits also need to sleep. But most rabbit owners may not even realize when their rabbit is sleeping. So how to know if a rabbit is sleeping?
Rabbits generally do not sleep like us, everything about their sleep is different from humans or other pets like cats or dogs. Rabbits are crepuscular animals, that means they are most active during mornings and evenings.
This in an evolutionary trait that has allowed prey animals like rabbits and deer to survive in the wild. Sleeping during the daytime and night, when predators are most active, helps to keep them safe.
Bunny rabbits need to sleep for around 6-8 hours every day but they don’t sleep at a stretch. They prefer taking small naps instead. They sleep in various positions and even with their eyes open but when the sleep their breathing and heart rate slows down, their nose stops twitching and their ears may relax.
Lets learn a bit more about how to know if a rabbit is sleeping, their sleeping positions, timings, and how to make them fall asleep easily during bedtime
Some Common Rabbit Sleeping Positions
The best when way to know when a rabbit is sleeping is by observing the body position.
Pet rabbits have a few poses that they feel comfortable in while sleeping. Every rabbit may have their preferred sleeping position, but they are mostly from one of these.
If you see a rabbit in one of these poses then there is a good chance that they are sleeping.
Perhaps the most common resting position for my rabbits, the loaf position (also called loafing) is a position where a bunny has its hand and feet tucked underneath it.
It is called loaf position because the bunny looks like a loaf of bread in this pose. This also has an advantage for the rabbit, they can stay alert and quickly run away from danger while resting in this pose.
While in the stretched position, a bunny will lay down with its legs stretched out. They may also have their hands stretched in the front or tucked in under them.
Laying down like this is quite comfortable for rabbits but they only get into this position only when they feel absolutely safe about their surroundings.
Often accompanied by the “bunny flop”, the flop position is the most comfortable sleeping position for rabbits. They have their hands and feet stretched out in front of them.
Although some rabbits don’t like to sleep this way for long as it is much harder to run away from danger.
Can A Rabbit Sleep On Its Back?
No, rabbits cannot sleep on their backs. Putting a rabbit on their is known as trancing. This puts them in a dormant state where their breathing and heart rate slows down.
This is an evolutionary trait in all pet rabbits which has originated from playing dead when being hunted by a predator. But being on their back can be very traumatic for rabbits.
Rabbits may find it hard to breathe and struggle to get upright when put on their back. A sudden jerk while struggling to get back up could also injure their fragile spine.
Try to avoid putting your rabbit on their back as much as you can!
Can Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Yes they can! This is a behavior that rabbits have inherited from their wild ancestors.
Although some rabbits may sleep with their eyes full or partially closed. All rabbits can sleep with their eyes open. They do this to stay alert of predators in their environment and to trick them into thinking they are awake.
A predator will always target a sleeping rabbit, this way rabbits can ensure their safety by appearing awake to a predator even while sleeping.
They even have a special adaptation in their eyes called the Third Eyelid, this is translucent membrane below their eyelids that help a rabbits eyes moisturized even blinking.
This is why a lot of rabbit owners wonder why their rabbit never sleeps, when their rabbit may be taking naps with their eyes open all along.
When Do Rabbits Like To Sleep?
Rabbits are crepuscular animals, that means they are most active during dusk and dawn. They tend to sleep during the day and again in the night.
This makes them an ideal pet for people who are out to work during the day as their rabbit will provably snooze during the afternoon.
As discussed before, rabbits seldom sleep for long at a time, instead they like taking small naps. You may find that a rabbit wakes up multiple times a night to go to its litter box or chew some hay and then go back to sleep.
But with time most rabbits can adjust to sleeping and waking up according to your schedule. It depends on where you live, the temperature and even the rabbit’s own personality.
How Many Hours Does A Rabbit Sleep At A Time?
Pet rabbits need about 6-8 hours of sleep every day. Young rabbits may sleep for 10+ hours every day.
Every rabbit has a different sleeping schedule, some like to sleep for long periods of time like 5-6 hours at a time. But most take shorter nap closer to an hour.
Some rabbits like to sleep primarily during the night and other may prefer to sleep during the day. A great part of their sleep pattern will also be influenced by their feeding time.
You may find that your bunny will adjust their sleeping times to stay awake during the times that you feed them. Overall this is something that is unique to each and every individual bunny.
How Do Rabbits Sleep In The Wild?
Rabbits live in underground burrows, often in large groups of 5-7 rabbits and their kits.
Since rabbits are most active during the hours of dawn and dusk, where the adult venture outside of their burrows to gather food. They spend the daytime and most of the night time in or near their burrows.
While in their burrows the rabbits rest and raise their young. The baby rabbits eat, play and sleep.
Although rabbit burrows are safe from large predators such as wolfs, they still can get raided by wild cats or snakes so the rabbits mostly sleep very alert and with their eyes open.
A wild rabbit is always ready to pounce off at the sound of any danger. To learn more about wild rabbits and how they live
How To Make A Rabbit Fall Asleep At Night?
Most people keep their rabbits in a cage at night. This helps to keep the bunny safe while it is unsupervised during the night.
But some rabbits tend to stay awake during the night and an active rabbit in a cage can be noisy. Rabbits love to run around, dig and chew on their surroundings, even on their cage bars.
But there is an easy way to make sure that they get good night’s sleep. Here is how you can make your rabbit sleep at night.
Step 1 : Make Sure Your Rabbit Get Tons Of Exercise
The number one reason why rabbits stay away during the night is that they simply have too much energy.
Rabbits are supposed to run and hop around all day but if they are not getting enough exercise then they will not sleep well during the night.
A rabbit needs at the least 2-3 hours of exercise, this makes sure that they are tired enough when they go to sleep and sleep soundly throughout the night.
Step 2 : Adjust Their Meal Times
Your rabbit’s eating times also affect your rabbit’s sleeping habits to a large extent. The rabbit’s diet could also be a part of it.
If your rabbit is hungry by the time they go to bed, they may become restless and not get enough sleep. The best time for a rabbit to have its dinner is just a few hours before bedtime.
You must also keep a large supply of hay inside their cage in case they want to chew on some throughout the night.
Step 3 : Remove Noisy Toys From Their Cage At Night
Toys are a great way to add enrichment in your rabbit’s life. Rabbits love to play with their toys and have a great time. But when it comes to sleeping, toys can be a big distraction.
Rabbits love to toss their toys around all night and make lots of noise instead of sleeping. Therefore removing toys from their sleeping are can be a good way to ensure that that they sleep soundly.
Step 4 : Cover Your Rabbit's Cage
Another good way to make sure that your rabbit is getting plenty of sleep during the night is to cover their cage up with a blanket during the night.
Light is a major cause to keep your bunny awake throughout the night. Having lights on throughout the night may mess with a rabbit’s cercadian rythm, which is their internal clock telling them to sleep or wake up.
Step 5 : Maintain A Routine
The final step of the process is that you maintain a routine. Rabbits can get stressed easily if their routines get messed up.
This means they wake up on time, eat on time, excersise and eventually go to bed at a certain time during the day.
Not only is this the ideal environment for you bunny, sticking to a routine can be great for you too.
And slowly but surely you can ensure that you and your rabbit are sleeping through the night!
What To Do If Your Rabbit Is Not Sleeping?
If you feel that your rabbit is not getting enough sleep then it may lead to some serious health problems. Rabbits need to sleep just like you and me, lack of sleep may indicate some underlying problems.
Make sure that you know how to know if a rabbit is sleeping, if not then
- Keep an eye on their energy levels
- Check if they are eating right
- Watch out for abnormal stools
- And, contact your vet if you see your rabbit’s health deteriorating in any way.
Thats about it. I hope with this info you should be about to understand when a rabbit is sleeping quite easily. To learn a bit more about rabbit behavior then check out one of these articles below
- Rabbit Behavior & Body Language Cheat Sheet For Beginners
- How To Train Rabbits To Drink From A Water Bottle?
- 10 Things That Rabbits Hate About Their Owners
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