If you have a rabbit then you might have noticed that it is behaving very strangely at certain times during the day. It can often be found lying on its side, breathing slowly yet still with its eyes open. Does this mean that it is ill?
Not necessarily. This is how a lot of rabbits like to sleep. As humans, we are used to seeing other humans sleeping with their eyes closed, but this is not the case with the rabbit. These creatures have developed the ability to sleep with their eyes open to avoid predators.
It might look creepy, but this is all part of your rabbit’s regular sleep cycle. You can usually find your rabbit asleep in the middle of the afternoon or late into the night at around midnight. Rabbits are also a big fan of napping in order to replenish their energy.
So when exactly do your rabbits get their shut-eye? How can you tell that these animals are in fact asleep? What positions do they lie down in when they are asleep? What is the reason for your rabbits sleeping with their eyes open? How can you make sure that your rabbit is getting enough sleep?
Well, if you want to have complete knowledge of your little critter’s sleeping habits, then we would suggest that you read on. You can see how much your rabbit is sleeping to rule out the possibility that it might be ill or experiencing symptoms of some deeper-seated trauma.
Do Rabbits Have Their Eyes Closed When They Sleep?
The amazing thing about your rabbit will be the fact that their eyes are open while they are asleep. But what is the reason for this? Well, evolving in the wild where there are plenty of predators, this rabbit has learned to rest with its peepers open both to keep an eye on predators and fool them into thinking they’re awake.
Another way of getting around the issue of predators is by sleeping in short bursts. This way a rabbit can get its daily rest as well as keeping alert and on the lookout for predators. This is why so many rabbit owners get confused when they see their rabbits being slightly languid, but with their eyes open.
However, there are some breeds of rabbits that sleep with either their eyes completely closed or half-closed. This will depend on your rabbit’s personality too. Some rabbits have become accustomed to sleeping with their eyes closed, so don’t be disturbed if you see this happening either.
The reason why your rabbit’s eyes don’t dry out when they sleep with them open is that they have a third eyelid, which is a thin membrane that covers the eye itself. This way you can be sure that your rabbit’s eye will stay well oiled during the entirety of its sleeping cycle.
What’s The Reason For Sleeping With Your Eyes Open?
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons that your rabbit sleeps with its eyes open is because they have developed this as a defense mechanism to protect them against predators.
There are two reasons for this, the first one is the fact that predators are less likely to attack a sleeping rabbit. This means that the sleeping rabbit is more likely to be prey to attack than a rabbit that looks like it is always awake.
The second reason is the fact that plenty of light gets into your rabbit’s eyes. This means it is much easier to spot predators, which gives a rabbit in the wild the ability to be able to spot a predator quickly.
Rabbits have evolved as prey animals, so having this ability to stay awake during sleep is key to their survival. One way you’ll be able to tell if your rabbit has bonded with you is if it feels comfortable enough to close its eyes during sleep around you.
However, this is no guarantee. Even the most affectionate rabbit might not get over the idea that it needs to sleep with its eyes open during the afternoon and late night.
So Is Your Rabbit Sleeping Or Not? How You Can Tell
There are a few telltale signs that your rabbit is getting some rest:
- If their nose no longer twitches – if your rabbit’s nose is twitching, then this means it is more alert.
- Slower breathing – you’ll notice that your rabbit’s breathing rate will slow down when it is resting.
- Dreaming – you’ll notice various spasms and twitches in your rabbit when it is asleep.
- Relaxed ears – if your rabbit’s ears are close to the head, then you can see this as a sign of it being completely laid back and not alert.
When Do Rabbits Sleep?
There are 3 main sleeping positions for your rabbit:
- The loaf – this is when your rabbit will be lying on its front like a loaf of bread. It will have its legs tucked up underneath itself.
- The rug – this is when your rabbit’s legs will be stretched out behind it and the forelegs stuck out in front.
- The flop – this is when your rabbit will be lying on its side with its legs sticking out away from it.
How To Make Sure Your Rabbit Sleeps During The Night
A rabbit is described as crepuscular, which means that it is most active during the morning and the early evening hours.
It doesn’t have to be strictly dark for your rabbit to sleep, so you won’t have to worry about covering its hutch during the daytime. If you think your rabbit is sleeping too much or too little, you should take it to your vet immediately.