Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open? Things You Must Know

Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open

Do Rabbits sleep with their eyes open? This is one question that most animal lovers must have pondered upon at one point or the other. The reason for this is not hard to find, Bunnies have a way of appearing to be awake even when they are supposed to be asleep. This can be cute and confusing at the same time.

Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?

The answer to this is that not all rabbits sleep with their eyes open. Some of them sleep while their eyes are fully or partly closed. This is however dependent on two factors. First is how safe your rabbit may feel and the other one is on the personality of your Rabbit. Some Rabbits don’t sleep with their eyes closed, hence if you are concerned that your Rabbit doesn’t sleep, this may be the reason.

Why Exactly Do Rabbits Sleep With Open Eyes?

Rabbits sleep with both eyes open as a form of defense from danger. In the jungle, sleeping with both eyes wide affords rabbits two things as advantages.

  1. Light gets to the eye easier when it is wide open. And if something dangerous comes close, the Rabbit becomes quickly aware of it quicker than when their eyes were closed.
  2. It helps them create an image of being awake. More often than not, predators would go for an animal they find sleeping. This is because such Rabbits are less alert which means they cannot escape. Hence, if the Rabbit seems awake, it would be safer.

The fact that rabbits are prey animals makes them constantly alert in their environment. Their instincts are awake to the reality that a predator could come anytime.

Your domesticated Rabbit may likely not sleep with eyes closed till they have reached a bond with you.  Even at this, some Rabbits would still prefer sleeping with their eyes wide open.

How Then Can You Tell If The Rabbit Is Asleep?

Because they are susceptible to sleeping with eyes wide open, it is quite hard to determine when a Rabbit is asleep. A Rabbit Relaxing, alert and awake can look like a rabbit that is deep asleep.

You may think that you have never seen a Rabbit asleep before; however, you may have without knowing. Understanding your rabbits sleeping pattern is important. Sleeping excessively or at the wrong house may be an indication of sickness.  Also, rabbits in pain usually find it difficult to sleep or rest.

However, several factors indicate that a rabbit is asleep. If you become privy if these signs you should be able to tell when a rabbit is asleep.

Tips To Recognize A Sleeping Rabbit

  • Slowed down Breathing

If you can get close to the Rabbit, you will observe that their breathing rate drops when they are sleeping.

  • Nose Twitching stops

The nose of Rabbits does not twitch when they are asleep.  The more active a rabbits are, the quicker the nose will twitch.

  • Relaxed ears

If the ears of your rabbit are standing upright, it simply means they are awake. A slumbering Rabbits ear is usually relaxed and will lie on the head.

  • Snoring

Not every rabbit snores, however, many of them do.  They sometimes make rasping noises or soft grunting while asleep.

  • Dreaming

Like humans, Rabbits can dream. While dreaming in their sleep, they usually twitch their ears, legs, eyelids, mouth or tail erratically. This is a clear sign that they are sleeping.

Some rabbits usually do not sleep well when human beings are around.  It sometimes takes your Rabbit months or even years before it becomes comfortable sleeping around you. Hence, it is wise that your rabbit has somewhere private where it can hide.

Some Common Rabbit Sleeping Postures

One other way you can tell if your rabbit is sleeping is for you to observe for some common rabbit positions. There are three major sleeping postures that rabbits are fond of. The sleeping position your bunny opts for is dependent on how they feel and their personality type.

The three major bunnies sleeping postures include the following:

  • The Rug: while in this position, your rabbit is bound to lay stretched out on their front. Also, their back legs will be stuck out behind them.  The front paws may be tucked up or stretched out.
  • The Loaf: here your rabbit assumes the look of a bread loaf. They lay down with their legs seemingly tucked under themselves.
  • The Flop: while in this position, the rabbit tends to lay down on their sides with their legs showing in their front.

Majority of Rabbits are fond of sleeping in the bread loaf style. This assists them in feeling a bit more secure because they can easily spring up and run from danger when it arises. It, however, does not mean that the rabbit is afraid of you. It just means they are at alert.

A rabbit that is asleep in the flop or rub positions is normally happy and relaxed. These are usually positions where your rabbit may likely close its eyes. They are also fond of stretching out in hot conditions as it assists them in cooling off quicker.

Furthermore, rabbits do not usually sleep on their backs. Hence, make sure that you never lay your rabbits on their back as this causes them to be scared because they will feel threatened. This is known as “trancing” and can be quite risky for your rabbit.

When Exactly Do Rabbits Sleep?

By now you already know how a sleeping rabbit looks like, but you may be wondering when the rabbit should be asleep.

For the records, Rabbits are neither diurnal nor nocturnal. They are instead crepuscular.  This simply implies that they are usually most active in the evening and morning.

This mechanism began evolving in wild European rabbits. Dusk and dawn are the times when the sun seems lowest in the sky. This is also the period when visibility is poor for both diurnal and nocturnal hunters.

Rabbits which are at their peak when the sun is lowest can easily evade their predators.  Even though the pet rabbit may not be in danger of a predator, they still show fear because of their instincts.

Most of the time, rabbits are at their peak alertness between the hours of 5-11pm and 4-9am. This is when they are energetic the most.  The particular times change according to location, time of the year and the personality of the rabbit.

Do Rabbits Sleep When It’s Dark?

Because rabbits sleep during the day and night, it does not have to be dark.  Rabbits are usually able to sleep as comfortable as they do in the presence of light.

Out there in the wild, Rabbits are known to spend a large part of their inside warrens under the ground.  They are not dark in the day as the light tends to gain access through the holes burrowed.

Rabbits also rely on the patterns of sunlight to know when they should sleep and be awake. They usually take naps through the darkest times of the night and the brightest parts as well. When the sun is setting or rising, they are more active.

You do not need to switch on the light for your rabbit during the night. However, you shouldn’t impede light from getting to their sleeping place during the day. Excessive light exposure can lead to confusion and stress.

It is therefore ideal that you allow your rabbit to determine where and when to sleep.

Tips On How To Make Your Rabbit Sleep In The Night

When awake, Rabbits are usually quite noisy. They are fond of digging, running around, chewing on things and playing. These activities if not checked can keep us awake at night.

the sad thing about this is that Rabbits do not usually sleep at the time we want them to. There is certainly no way for you to override the natural biology of the rabbit. Rabbits sleep and wake up only when their body tells them to.

Here are a few tips that should help them make less noise at night.

  • Avoid keeping them in a cage: most of the noise-causing activities of rabbits is caused by boredom. If you give them room to exercise in the night, they are less likely to disturb you.
  • Get them fagged out: engage them in hours of exercise during the day before bedtime. If they are tired before evening, they are bound to try and relax during the night.
  • Get rid of noisy items: if any of the items they play with is noisy, remove them at night
  • Give them a routine: this should condition them for when to expect playtime.


Do Rabbits sleep in the night?

Yes, but not all through the night.

How long do rabbits sleep?

Rabbits sleep about 8 hours a day in broken sequences.

What do I do when my Rabbit is not fine?

Take it to a veterinarian.


Now you know that rabbits do sleep with their eyes open. We do hope we have satisfied your curiosity in this regard. Hence, you do not need to be scared that something is wrong.

Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open or closed depending on factors such as their personality type and the way they feel.

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