Owning a pet bunny can be great, considering the fact that bunnies are fun little animals to own. Sometimes you might see your pet bunny sleeping with his eyes open. Is it normal? Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?
The answer to this question is yes! We understand, it is surprising and out of the ordinary. Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open and there is nothing to worry about.
They do this when they fear threats. It might happen if you have recently got your pet bunny and he simply isn’t comfortable with his new surroundings yet. Here is a detailed insight into how rabbits sleep with their eyes open.
Rabbits Sleeping With Their Eyes Open – Mystery Solved!
It might seem weird and may lead to multiple questions like how could an animal sleep with its eyes open. What is the reason behind them sleeping like this, what causes them to do this?
Fortunately, we have got it all covered for you. Here’s everything about the mystery that you should know.
1) Do Rabbits Sleep?
Do they even sleep? Of course yes. Every wild animal tends to sleep and the same goes for rabbits as well. Sleeping provides them with a boost in their energy levels when they wake up.
In the wild, a rabbit stays active at two peak times. At dusk, and at dawn. These are the peak times that have a lower risk of them being spotted by predators that are hunting them.
Apart from these times, rabbits usually sleep, sometimes with their eyes opened and sometimes with their eyes closed. But, more on this will be discussed in the following parts of this post.
For now, you need to understand the positions a rabbit sleeps in.
2) What Positions Do Rabbits Sleep In?
They sleep in three primary positions. They are comfortable with either and can adapt to any one of the following according to the external conditions.
- Stretched position – They simply stretch their front legs out in this posture. They usually stretch them in front of their body, or in some cases, under their chest. Whereas the back legs are essentially straight.
- Relaxed posture – In the wild, when a rabbit feels relaxed and the risk of them being spotted by predators is low, they tend to sleep in this posture. In this state, they simply lay on their side.
- Alarmed posture – When a rabbit feels attacked or is simply on guard mode, they sleep in this posture. They simply lay on their stomach. Both of their front and back legs are tucked under them.
This way, you cannot see their legs. When a rabbit sleeps in this posture, it means they are trying to relax but at the same time, they are on the lookout for possible attacks by predators.
However, when they are in an alarming posture, they rarely sleep. Instead, they simply snooze.
3) How Long Do Rabbits Sleep?
When it comes to the sleeping pattern of a rabbit, it is relaxed and is usually long hours.
On a normal day with no stress whatsoever, and no risk of them being attacked by a predator, they will sleep for a good 6 to 12 hours.
It is usually 6 hours at a minimum but if a rabbit feels tired and needs to relax, they may sleep up to 12 hours.
They will typically wake up every few hours and take breaks in between unless it’s dawn or dusk. At dawn or dusk, a rabbit essentially stays active and awake.
We have only been talking about a rabbit’s sleep routine when he or she is relaxed. Now, when a rabbit is stressed or something is bothering him or her, they will not get the same sleep as a relaxed sleep.
They may even sleep for less than 6 hours a day. As a result, they will be deprived of sleep. If this happens frequently, a stressed rabbit will suffer from numerous health complications.
If you own a pet rabbit, they are most likely relaxed and you do not have to worry about them not getting enough sleep.
4) Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open or Closed?
Here comes the question that we have all been waiting for. In short, yes! Rabbits have the ability to sleep with their eyes open.
But, keep in mind not all rabbits will do this and only some will actually sleep with their eyes open. They only sleep with their eyes open when they have to stay alert.
With their eyes open, they will likely be able to flee from the premises faster if a predator finds them. If you own a pet rabbit, you do not have to worry about this.
They only do this in the wild and domestic rabbits are not likely to sleep with their eyes open. At the start, your pet rabbit may or may not sleep with its eyes open.
It depends on whether your rabbit is comfortable with you or not. If your pet bunny is comfortable with you and its surroundings, it will close its eyes when it intends to sleep.
If, however, your pet is new and is not comfortable with you and the surroundings yet, it will sleep with its eyes open.
Here is a fun fact for you:
Rabbits have a third eyelid as well! Yes, you read correctly. It is not a typo and they do in fact have a third eyelid. When a bunny is sleeping with its eyes open, its third eyelid will be closed.
The third eyelid in bunnies is there for a reason and serves one purpose. It protects a rabbit’s eye when it is sleeping in an alarmed posture with its eyes wide open.
This ensures their eyes stay safe while they relax and keep an eye out for predators in their surroundings.
5) How Do Rabbits Use Their Third Eyelid?
The third eyelid mentioned in the section above is also referred to as the nictitating membrane. If you intend to go have a look at your pet’s eyes, do not bother.
The human eye cannot see it. This is due to the fact that it is transparent. When a rabbit tries getting some sleep but fears a predator, they simply close their third eyelid. Whereas, the main eyelid stays open.
This allows them to protect their eyes while they keep an eye out for predators and get some rest at the same time.
When an eye is open for a long duration, it can get dry since one purpose of the eyelids is to make them moist. So, if a rabbit is sleeping with its eyes open, the third eyelid will help keep its eyes moist.
Apart from this, it will also help prevent dust from entering their eyes as well. It essentially serves as a layer to protect a rabbit’s eyes in the wild.
6) Why Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
When it comes to rabbits in the wild, they can be classified into the category of animals that are most frequently preyed on. Due to this, they are in a state of high alert irrespective of what the scenario might be.
Even when they are in your home, they sometimes may feel fear. This is specifically true if you have just got them. It will take time before your pet bunny gets accustomed to its new surroundings and starts trusting you.
Your poor little pet bunny is preyed on in the wild and due to this reason, they may feel preyed on even in domestic homes.
So, when they sleep with their eyes open, they will likely be able to defend themselves better.
If your pet bunny sleeps with its eyes open, you should not worry. It only means they are not comfortable yet. Your pet bunny will take its due time before it can be able to trust you.
Make sure you give your pet ample time and let him trust you slowly. Besides, it will also strengthen and create a healthy bond between you and your pet bunny.
7) What Are The Advantages Of A Rabbit Sleeping With Its Eyes Open?
Rabbits sleep with their eyes open for a good cause. There are certain advantages of a rabbit sleeping with its eyes wide open. But, these are only applicable in the wild when they feel preyed on.
- When a rabbit sleeps with its eyes open, they are essentially trying to fool their predators. It does not give away the fact that they are sleeping and maintains a rabbit’s cover.
- In the wild, if a predator finds a sleeping rabbit, it will attack in the blink of an eye. Since with their eyes closed, they will not likely be able to defend themselves.
- When a rabbit sleeps with its eyes open, it will be more aware of its surroundings. If in the unfortunate event that a rabbit is attacked by a predator, it will be able to defend itself better when the eyes are open.
However, if your rabbit is doing this indoors where there is no risk of them being attacked by a predator, you should be worried. To help your pet rabbit sleep with its eyes closed, you need to improve the surroundings.
Feed them nice and healthy treats routinely and try to develop a healthy bond with them. Showing some affection towards them will help them gain confidence and trust in their surroundings.
If you are not sure what treats to feed them, you can head over to the section below and pick one from our favorite picks.
This will allow them to get better sleep by not having to worry about their surroundings.
8) Do Rabbits Sleep In The Dark?
It is a proven fact that rabbits are most active during dusk and dawn. Rabbits are able to get a quick nap both during the day and at night. It does not necessarily have to be dark.
They are perfectly cable to sleep during the daytime. In the wild, rabbits do not have the same domestic household environments. They simply have warrens underground.
Since light can pass through their underground homes, it is not dark in the daytime. As mentioned earlier, they can sleep during the daytime when their underground warrens are lit.
Rabbits do not know the precise time of the day. They get an idea of when to sleep and when to wake up by observing the lighting in their environment.
When it gets past midnight and it is entirely dark, they will try to get some sleep. The same goes for when it is around afternoon become the most active at this time and the sun is at its brightest, rabbits will try getting some sleep.
However, around the times of sunrise and sunset, they avoid sleeping. Since they fear being attacked by predators.
So, if you own a pet bunny, you do not have to have the lights on for your pet bunny to sleep. But, you should also know that when in the daytime, you should avoid exposing them to too much light.
It may make your pet bunny stressed and confused. Simply put, at night, you should turn off the lights and during the daytime, you should turn on lights but make sure they are not too bright.
Leave the rest to your pet bunny and let them decide for themselves when they should sleep and awaken.
9) How To Make A Rabbit Sleep At Night?
Rabbits are fun little creatures to own. But, when they are having fun, they may make some noise which can get pretty annoying and bothersome. This is specifically true if you let your bunny decide when it sleeps.
However, due to the fact that they make noise when they are having fun, it can disturb you while you sleep. For this reason, many pet owners want their pet bunnies to sleep at night.
While you cannot enforce your decisions on your pet bunny since they are the masters of their own world. They make their own decisions and when they should sleep. But some ways can get your bunny to sleep at night.
Here are simple but effective ways to make your bunny fall asleep at night. This will ensure both you and your bunny get a good night’s sleep and stay energetic on the morning after.
- Let your bunny have the most fun at the day times. Make sure they exercise, play, dig, chew on their favorite toys and ensure they get tired.
When they are tired, the chances of them sleeping at night will increase.
- If you keep your pet bunny in a cage, try putting a cloth or blanket over it. When you wrap the cage in a blanket, they will likely stay calm and relaxed.
A calm and relaxed bunny will likely try to get some sleep since it will not be stressed about its surroundings.
- If your pet bunny has toys in its cage, try removing them at night. If you let them have their toys, they will likely play with them and make noise.
It can get pretty distracting while you sleep so removing your bunny’s toys will help them sleep better at night.
- Rabbits cannot keep a track of time. However, they can keep track of routines. To help your pet bunny understand how playtime and sleep time works, you need to make a routine.
They will likely follow it but you should not expect too much. It is still, worth a try though.
- As a last resort, you can try to avoid putting your pet bunny in a cage at night. Since they are active pets and like to have fun, they may try to chew the walls of their cage.
When you let your pet bunny out at the night in the place where he or she exercises, they will likely make less noise.
The above tips will help put your pet bunny to sleep at night. But that’s not all, there are other factors that you need to know as well.
10) How Do I Know If My Rabbit Is Sleeping?
Due to the third eyelid that a rabbit has, you might sometimes have trouble figuring out if your rabbit is asleep. Here are some things to look out for if you need to determine if your rabbit is sleeping.
- If your pet bunny’s ears are down and they are not moving, it can be an indication of your pet being asleep. Moreover, if your pet’s nose is still, it also indicates that they are asleep.
The fact that a bunny’s nose does not move allows us to understand that they are not trying to listen or smell anything. So, it simply means that your pet bunny is sleeping.
- When a bunny is sleeping, its breathing pattern becomes slower. So if your bunny is breathing at a much slower rate than normal, you should understand that he or she is sleeping and is simply relaxed.
- Fun fact: Rabbits also dream. Just like us, they see vivid dreams. As a result, they may sometimes make adorable sounds or move their legs or tail around. If you notice any such behavior, it can be an indication that your pet bunny is asleep.
4 Proven Tips To Help A Rabbit Get Better Sleep At Night
Here are some sought-after tips that most pet owners have tried and got results. Make sure you give these a try to get your pet bunny to sleep better at night.
1) Make Your Pet Bunny Feel At Home:
Rabbits are animals of the wild. When they move to a domestic house, they will likely be nervous at first.
They will also have trouble adjusting to the new surroundings at first since they may not see any trees or grass around them. To help your pet bunny adjust to the surroundings, make sure their cage is comfortable.
In addition to this, you also need to move their cage away from the noise. They should not be exposed to the noise of TVs or music or anything that might scare them away.
2) Let Your Pet Bunny Have Ample Space For All Their Activities:
Rabbits like to have fun, whether it is the daytime or at night. If you frequently keep your pet bunny in a cage, they may not have ample space to do all the fun activities that they can do in the wild.
They will only feel suffocated if you keep them in a small cage. To get your bunny to sleep better at night, you need to get them a larger cage.
Or if you have a backyard, you can dedicate a corner to them and let them out when possible. This will allow them to hop around and have fun. Doing this will also tire them out, thus allowing them to relax at night.
3) Improve Your Bond With Your Pet:
To get them to trust you, you really need to work on the bond you have with your pet bunny. An easy way to do this is to simply feed them a healthy and luscious diet.
Their diet primarily consists of grass hay only. Add a cup of veggies, fresh fruits, and natural greens. They need a diet that is rich in fiber and has all the essential vitamins and minerals.
You also need to feed them freshwater as well. Here are our top picks when it comes to treats for your pet bunny. You can go with any of them and your pet bunny will absolutely love you for this.
If this is the first time you are feeding your pet bunny snacks like this, we recommend you go with bananas.
4) Give Them Access To Lots Of Toys:
When a bunny has lots of toys, it will likely play and mess around with them for hours. It will keep them entertained and eventually make them trust their surroundings.
It will also allow them to burn off calories that they will gain from eating healthy treats.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is My Pet Rabbit Scared Of Me?
In short, NO! If you own a pet rabbit, you might sometimes wonder if your pet is actually scared of you. This is due to the fact that rabbits sleep with their eyes open due to sheer fear.
However, it does not necessarily mean your pet rabbit is scared of you. It may simply mean your pet rabbit is new to its surroundings and needs some time to get accustomed to his new home.
Give your pet bunny ample time and this will surely help them sleep better. Besides, you should also know that there are some bunnies that never actually close their eyes when they are sleeping.
Every rabbit is not alike. Some might sleep with their eyes closed no matter what and some might never close their eyes.
This is certainly something that you should not have to worry about. Feed them nice treats and ensure you give them a healthy diet. That is all you can do for your pet bunny to make sure they stay healthy and strong.
2) How To Make My Bunny Sleep With Its Eyes Closed?
To get your pet bunny to sleep with its eyes closed, you need it to be able to feel safe around you. This is the only way you can make them sleep with their eyes closed.
For starters, you need to ensure they have a somewhat same environment as they would have in the wild. Make sure their sleeping place is soft and dark.
Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open? Yes, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. If your pet bunny is sleeping with its eyes open, you shouldn’t worry.
They have a third eyelid that protects their eyes from damage. The reason why a rabbit sleeps with its eyes open is that it may feel fear or attacked, specifically in the wild.
To get your bunny to sleep with its eyes closed, you need to let them trust you and adjust to its surroundings. Give them a large cage and feed them healthy treats.