Just as humans, animals too including rabbits need sleep. As adequate sleep is important to humans so also is it to the well-being of rabbits.
No animal can maintain an all-round the clock activity rate and looking at rabbits, many times we catch rabbits sleeping in the day at different times and we can’t help but wonder…
This question in particular as well as other related questions will be answered in this article.
So let’s Set off.
How Long Do Rabbits Sleep?
This is actually a shocker. You’d never believe it but it’s true. Rabbits sleep on average anything like seven to twelve hours.
Yes, I know that’s more than the required 8 hours of sleep for humans.
But these long hours of sleep take a very different pattern from that of humans, this is because rabbits sleep in bits.
As they have to be on alert in case of any form of danger, hence they are regarded as “Light sleepers”. They wake up frequently, having shorter periods of time to sleep and wake up again.
I know what you’re probably thinking…
You’ve seen the duration on the web as 8.4 hours and you’re wondering…
Why is it stated as seven to twelve hours here?
Well, you’ll have to read on to find out.
As opposed to the common answer to this question which is that rabbits sleep for about 8.4 hours, the sleep patterns of some male rabbits have been closely observed and monitored by scientists and they found that on average, those rabbits slept for 11.4 hours in a day. So 8.4 hours is within the range and maybe the common trend for rabbits, but it certainly is not the limit as we’ve seen rabbits can do more.
And that’s not all they found out in their research.
These scientists also researched further into how long the rabbits were “drowsy” i.e. in light sleep and involved in a deep sleep and they found that;
- For about two-thirds of the time of sleep, The rabbits were in deep sleep ie about seven to eight hours a day and;
- Rabbits were in light sleep for about a quarter of the time i.e. about two to three hours a day.
So rabbits sleep on an average, just as long as humans should or longer than humans but this is their cumulative sleep for a day because it’s a product of many short naps.
Do Rabbits Close Their Eyes When They Sleep?
What a weird question we have on our hands here. Well I know I sleep with my eyes closed.
Is it the same for rabbits?
Everyone loves to sleep peacefully but when it gets to the point where you tend to not feel safe, you’ll reflexively stay awake for fear of danger with your eyes wide open.
Well, it’s slightly different with rabbits.
As a rabbit owner, if you’ve caught your rabbit’s eyes closed while sleeping may be in the afternoon, you’ve done very well to create a very nice environment and your bunny feels safe when he closes his eyes to sleep.
Rabbits actually can sleep with their eyes closed and also sleep WITH THEIR EYES OPEN.
I Know right, that’s awesome.
Rabbit’s Eyes are kind of magical. They could close their eyes and sleep and these same eyes can be open or half closed and you might think they are staring at you but they’re asleep. This is part of the reasons some rabbit owners claim to have rarely or never witnessed their rabbit sleep before.
Rabbits would normally sleep with their eyes closed if they feel safe but when the opposite is the case, they’ll sleep with their eyes open and they actually do so frequently.
What Are The Common Rabbits Sleeping Positions?
Rabbits take a whole variety of positions when they sleep. Partly, this could depend on the weather conditions of the environment.
Rabbits are more likely to curl up like a ball in cold weather to keep warm and stretch out as much as possible in hot weather to keep cool.
Their sleeping positions can also depend on their personal preferences that ensure they are comfortable and the stress on their muscles and joints is reduced.
Let’s see these positions in a more detailed manner:
– The Loaf: This sleeping position is characterized by rabbits tucking in their legs underneath their fluffy chest and your rabbit will lay its ears back along its spine.
This is a very common position and if executed accurately, your rabbit should look like a fluffy loaf of bread. Hence, it earns the name “the Loaf”.
– The Flop: Usually preceded by rounds of intense faux digging the ground, your rabbit may also proceed to throw all four legs out to one side in a tremendous flop. This position is rare and might take a while before you see your Rabbit assume this position because rabbits may take up to or more than a year to feel comfortable enough to sleep while it’s flopped.
– The Rug: Your rabbit will lie stretched forth out on its front with its back leg stuck out behind it. The front paws may be stretched out or could be tucked up.
Most rabbits choose to sleep in the Loaf position as it helps them feel secure and they can quickly get up and run in the event of danger.
The loaf doesn’t really mean your rabbit is scared of you, it just means it’s on high alert.
Note that rabbits never lie on their back. Never lay your rabbit on its back as this action will cause it to panic, thinking it’s being attacked. This is called “Trancing”.
Where Do Rabbits Sleep?
When kept indoors as house pets, rabbits would sleep just about anywhere they please or seem Comfortable and secure.
But when found in the wild, they tend to converge in dug-out shelters known as Burrows as they are better protected from predators there.
A network of burrows shared by a group of rabbits is known as a “warren”. Burrows and warrens can be very difficult to see depending on the land features of where you live. Hence, rabbits in the wild would most times consider digging up burrows and warrens to salvage their lives.
When considering a nice comfy and safe place in for your rabbits to sleep in your home, make it look like and feel like a burrow; Somewhat dark, slightly tucked away laced with soft bedding as this would encourage them to regularly go to bed at the same hour and keep a healthy sleep schedule.
How Do You Know When A Rabbit Is Sleeping?
As rabbits are prone to sleeping with their eyes open you might have a hard time catching your bunny asleep or even knowing whether it’s asleep or not.
Some may even believe they’ve never seen their rabbits asleep, meanwhile what’s taking place is they’ve never seen their rabbits sleep with their eyes closed.
Fortunately, we are about to see the certain signs and Indicators that suggest that your rabbit is sleeping.
Once you learn to recognize the following signs, You’ll soon be able to spot when your rabbit is sleeping and you’ll see that one way or another you have seen it before without recognizing it.
- Slow Breathing: The breathing rate of your rabbits gets slow like… It drops when it’s asleep, if you can get close enough you’ll notice this.
- Relaxed Ears: A sign that your rabbit is awake is that its Ears are upright. A sleeping rabbit’s ears lie against the head and are relaxed.
- Dreaming: While rabbits are dreaming, they may twitch their mouth, legs, ears, tail or even eyelids. This is an indicator that they are in a deep sleep.
- Snoring: Rabbits tend to make a soft rasping or grunting noise during their sleep though not all rabbits snore, some do.
Rabbits sleep for long hours ranging from seven to twelve hours but they don’t do this at a stretch, they do it by taking short naps. They can sleep with their eyes open either fully or half-closed which makes it hard to decipher whether they are sleeping or not. And this phenomenon is actually an adaptation to give the impression that they are awake and would not hesitate to run if the predator makes a move to charge at them.
Many ways to identify when they are asleep are highlighted in this article. Trust it was helpful.