Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open? Here’s The Right Answer

Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

When it comes to the sleeping habits of animals, rabbits are often a subject of curiosity. Their large, expressive eyes and alert nature make it seem as if they are always on the lookout. One common question that arises is whether rabbits sleep with their eyes open.

Rabbits do not sleep with their eyes open. Like many animals, rabbits have a protective reflex called “reticular formation,” which allows them to sleep with their eyes partially open. This reflex helps them stay alert to potential threats even while resting. It gives the illusion that their eyes are open, but in reality, their eyes are only partially closed.

In this article, we will delve into the sleeping habits of rabbits, exploring the truth behind their seemingly open-eyed slumber and shedding light on the mechanisms that enable these adorable creatures to find repose without compromising their safety.

Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

No, rabbits do not sleep with their eyes opened. Rabbits have a special type of eye called a nictitating membrane (a third eyelid) that closes over the eye, protecting it from debris while they sleep. The look of this third eyelid is what creates the common misconception about rabbits sleeping with their eyes opened while in reality, they sleep with their eyes closed.

The myth of the “sleepy bunny” was probably started by the appearance of their eyes. When they are relaxed, their eyes appear to be open and they have a transparent look that makes it seem like they are asleep with open eyes.

This third eyelid helps keep their eyes moist. It is also a self-defense mechanism especially when they are in a vulnerable situation.

How To Know If A Rabbit Is Asleep?

Rabbits are mammals and they have a lot of similarities with human beings. However, a rabbit’s sleeping position is different from a human’s position. It may be sometimes difficult to know when your rabbit is asleep because they are likely to sleep with their eyes open.

Rabbits are crepuscular animals and they sleep during the day. If you are not sure if your rabbit is sleeping, here are some signs to look out for:

1. Closed eyes

Rabbits sleep with their eyes closed too, and its head may be dropped down against the ground. It will be easier to recognize that your rabbit is fast asleep.

2. They will remain still and quiet

Your rabbit will not respond to any touch or sound, and may probably not move at all. Their nose will also stop twitching and their breathing will become gentle. This shows they are peaceful and relaxed.

3. Relaxed ears

The bottom of the rabbits’ ears will lay flat against their head. If your rabbits’ ears are standing upright, it means they are awake and alert.

4. Snoring

It isn’t common for rabbits to snore. But just like we humans some rabbits snore while they are fast asleep.

5. Legs tucked in close to the body

If your rabbit’s paws are comfortably tucked close to the body, it means that they are sleeping and relaxed, as opposed to being tense when awake.

6. Lying on its side or stomach

Rabbits often lay on their side and sometimes sleep on their stomach while they spread out their hind legs. When a rabbit does this, it shows that they are either fast asleep or comfortable and relaxed.

How Long Do Rabbits Sleep?

Just like every other animal, sleep is essential for rabbits. They need to have a lot of rest to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Rabbits sleep for about 6 to 8 hours a day because it helps them to grow and keep their body temperature at an appropriate level.  If you observe that your rabbit isn’t sleeping, this can be a sign of a health problem.

Common rabbit sleeping positions

Rabbits can sleep in a variety of positions but they have three common sleep positions. The position a rabbit chooses can be influenced by multiple reasons like the weather condition, its personality, and how safe it feels.

1. The flop position

This is when a rabbit lies on its side while stretching its feet forward. This position indicates that your rabbit is fully content and feels safe. This is one of the most vulnerable positions for a rabbit.

So, if your rabbit flops beside you, it means they fully trust you and feel comfortable with you.

This position can also indicate that your rabbit is hot and is trying to cool off by putting its body against the cold floor.

2. The loaf position

Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?

This position is when your bunny tucks its legs underneath its body. They will shrink their body into a tight little ball, making them look like a round loaf of bread, usually with relaxed ears and a drooping head.

Most rabbits choose to sleep in this position because they feel safe against any possible danger. This position may also mean that your rabbit is trying to conserve body heat.

3. The rug or Superman position

Do rabbits sleep with their eyes open?

This position is when a rabbit lies down on its stomach with its front paws stretched to the front and its back feet and tail stretched out behind it.

This is another position that puts a rabbit in a vulnerable situation. If your rabbit sprawls beside you, it means they feel safe and comfortable around you.

4. The sphinx positions

This is a position where your rabbit will lie on its chest and fold its feet underneath its body while its hands are stretched forward.

In this position, the muscle of the rabbit is stressed and tight. This is a resting position for rabbits who want to relieve themselves of stress.

Rabbits get into this position when they have a substantial amount of energy and they don’t feel like sleeping. They will get into this position whenever they are ready to rest but still take off when needed.

Do Rabbits Dream?

Yes, Rabbits have a natural reflex that causes them to blink rapidly and sometimes causes their body to twitch when sleeping without waking up. This is called “rapid eye movement” or REM sleep for short and it is a stage of sleep where dreaming occurs. This is quite similar to humans, as we have different dream states including REM sleep.

Where Do Rabbits Sleep?

Rabbits sleep in a variety of places, including their burrows, and hollows. They also sleep in piles of hay, straw, or other vegetation which they can eat as well. Most rabbits will not sleep on the ground because of fear of predators.

Rabbits sleep in nests called forms. These nests are usually made from leaves and grasses, but they can also be made from hay and sometimes their fur.

Form-building is an instinctual behavior that rabbits learn as babies. Bunnies make a form by pushing together piles of leaves and grasses until they create a soft spot to sleep on.

This nesting behavior is common among many different types of animals, but not all mammals build forms while they sleep as rabbits do.

When Do Rabbits Sleep?

Rabbits are crepuscular animals. This means that they are most active during the twilight hour of dawn and dusk. In the wild most rabbits sleep during the day and spend their time at night hiding from predators.

Rabbits typically sleep in their burrows, which are underground tunnels with a single entrance and exit hole. They can also sleep in an open space if they feel safe from predators.

Rabbits typically have one to two hours of sleep at a time, but this can vary depending on the animal’s energy levels and how long it has been awake.

Unlike humans, rabbits do not sleep for a long period. Instead, they sleep for a little amount throughout the day and night.

Rabbits sleep for about 8-10 hours a day divided into different mini naps. These little naps can last for only minutes while others last longer.

Do Rabbits Sleep At Night

Rabbits are primarily crepuscular animals, which means they are most active during dawn and dusk. This natural behavior is due to their evolutionary adaptation as prey animals, allowing them to avoid predators that are more active during the day or night. While rabbits are more active during these twilight periods, they do sleep during the night as well.

Typically, rabbits will find a safe and comfortable spot to rest and sleep during the night hours. They may choose to sleep in their burrows if they live in the wild or in a secure and cozy enclosure if they are kept as pets. Rabbits are known to be light sleepers, and they often sleep in short bursts. They may also engage in light activities, such as grooming themselves or rearranging their bedding, during the night.

How To Get Your Rabbit To Sleep At Night

Rabbits can get noisy when awake at night. They will often dig, or stomp their feet. This can be a major problem for humans. Rabbits are naturally crepuscular animals and will only wake and sleep when their body tells them to.

However, there are certain steps you can take to get your rabbit to sleep when you want them to.

  • Maintain a routine
  • Put them in a safe and quiet place
  • Exhaust your rabbit with a lot of exercises
  • Put off the lights
  • Give your rabbit bed comfortable
  • Give your rabbit enough space to sleep

Read more on “Why doesn’t my rabbit sleep”


Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open due to their unique physiology and evolutionary adaptations. While it may seem unusual or even unsettling to humans, it is a perfectly natural behavior for rabbits.

This is because rabbits are prey animals, and keeping their eyes open allows them to stay alert to potential threats even while sleeping. However, rabbits do also close their eyes and enter a deeper sleep state at times, just like humans.

Overall, the sleeping habits of rabbits may differ from those of humans, but they are perfectly normal and appropriate for these small, furry creatures.

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