Are Rabbits Nocturnal?


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Different animals sleep during different periods of the day. Some are active during the day, while some like to hunt at night. You are probably reading this article because you want to know the sleep schedule of rabbits.

So let’s find out when do rabbits sleep? When are they awake and active? and do the wild rabbits and the pet bunnies have the same sleeping hours?

Are Rabbits Nocturnal Animals?

Many people often consider rabbits nocturnal animals. But, before agreeing with them, do know what a nocturnal animal is? Nocturnal animals are animals that stay active at night. They avoid daytime heat and accomplish most of their tasks at night, such as eating and mating. In addition, nocturnal predators such as owls hunt other animals at night too.

Rabbits are not nocturnal as they sleep during the night. Although bunnies have a good night vision and hiding ability at night, the entirely different set of physiological and behavioral characteristics do not make the bunnies nocturnal.

Are Rabbits Diurnal Animals?

Diurnal animals are the animals that are active during the day and inactive during the night. Many primates, including humans, are diurnals. Just to remember, you are diurnal, but your bunny is not. Yes! Rabbits are not diurnal animals as they sleep during the day as well. Nature has regulated the daily rhythms of a rabbit’s body in such a way as to protect him from the diurnal predators which are out there during the day in search of a soft and tasty meal for them.

Are Rabbits Crepuscular Animals?

Yes, rabbits are crepuscular animals. Crepuscular animals are active during twilight, i.e., dawn and dusk. The word is derived from the Latin word crepusculum, meaning twilight hence these creatures are more active in the early morning or late evenings when the sun rises or sets.

Like other crepuscular, rabbits tend to be awake during twilight hours. However, unlike humans, they are not entirely active during the day or awake during the whole night.

Why Are Rabbits Crepuscular?

Many animals have evolved nocturnality as a part of a competition in the terrestrial mode of life. They hide from predators and search for food when the others are asleep. Despite being a prey animal, the rabbit is a crepuscular animal that sleeps during a small portion of the day as well as at night. Why is it so?

Safety From Predators

The purpose of such types of circadian rhythms in rabbits is to protect these prey animals from the nocturnal and diurnal predators. Wild rabbits leave their warrens and search for their food during dawn and dusk because many predators are asleep during this time. In addition, diurnal predators are unable to see because the light is too dim for them, and nocturnal predators can’t see as well as the light during these times is too bright for them. So, crepuscularity in rabbits is actually a survival mechanism for them.

Sound Sleep During Mid-day

Wild rabbits live in underground burrows. During a hot summer day, they turn out to be pretty cool. Rabbits love to sleep in these burrows. In this way, they not only escape from scorching heat but also from a cruel predator. These burrows also offer more warmth in winters, thus making the place cozier for them to sleep.

Do Pet Rabbits Follow the Same Sleep Schedule?

Like wild rabbits, pet rabbits are crepuscular too. They follow the same pattern of being active at twilight hours (dawn and dusk) and sleeping during the day and at night. All the healthy bunnies will show the same sleeping pattern until they modify themselves according to the sleeping hours of their owners.

Why Is My Pet Rabbit So Active in the Daylight Hours?

Rabbits are naturally crepuscular, but pet rabbits can modify their sleeping schedule according to their owners’ schedules. Your pet rabbit used to sleep during the mid of the day, but now you are observing a change in its daily routine.

It might be because you have started serving them food to eat, so they explicitly opt to remain active during these hours. Rather than sleeping during the noon, you might find them sleeping in the afternoon. It’s a part of their unique personality, and there’s nothing to worry about.

Why Is My Rabbit Not Sleeping During Night Hours?

A rabbit doesn’t sleep at night due to several reasons. He might be sick. He might be afraid of something. Third, he might want to sleep with his owner. Finally, the hutch is not comfy or entertaining.

In this case, examining him for sickness, calming him down, or adding wooden toys to the hutch might solve the problem. Do remember animal shelters need to be both comfortable and entertaining.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Do Rabbits Take Small Naps?

The only danger for rabbits is the animals which are always in search of them for food. But, of course, if a predator finds a rabbit asleep, he will try to gulp it all at once. Therefore, the rabbits take small naps periodically to be aware of the surroundings and any danger from the predators. Even a slight sound or smell is enough to wake them up. It is another survival mechanism found in them.

Why Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Rabbits fall asleep with their eyes open. It is a protective mechanism of rabbits in wild from their predators. They do so to run away from other wild creatures as soon as they approach them during their sleep. The strategy nature has given them allows them to sleep with their eyes open.

They have three pairs of eyelids. The third eyelid also called the nictitating membrane, plays a major role. It keeps the dirt away from his eyes. It also keeps his eyes hydrated while sleeping so that he won’t have blurry vision as soon as he awakes.

How Many Hours Should a Rabbit Sleep?

The complete sleeping time of rabbits in a day makes up about 8 hours. It includes the time of the short naps during the day as well as the time they fall asleep at night. So while 7 to 8 hours is pretty normal, a rabbit can sleep up to 10 to 12 hours per day.

Can I Disturb a Bunny in His Sleep?

No, never disturb a rabbit in his sleep. Though different to a large extent, they do have a routine just like humans or other animal companions. If you just got free from your chores and tasks and want to wake him up for playing, he might get angry at you instead of playing. For playing with bunnies, you have to adjust to their timetable.

How to Know if Your Bunny Is Asleep?

Rabbits sometimes lay still like they are asleep often; they sleep with their eyes open. But how will you know if your rabbit is asleep or not? Here are some signs of a rabbit sleeping:

  • Rabbits usually attain different positions while sleeping; they may be in front, in a loaf position, or on aside. But, they will be still in each kind of sleeping posture.
  • Just like us, rabbits breathe slowly when sleeping, and you will be able to notice their slow breathing if you observe a little more closely.
  • They can even snore like us.
  • You have surely noticed your bunny twitching his nose all the time when awake; he will not do so when he is asleep.
  • The ears of a sleeping rabbit will be relaxed and lying against his head.
  • If he twitches his ears, legs, or tail while sleeping, he is dreaming or in a deep slumber.

Where Do Rabbits Like to Sleep?

Unlike cats and dogs, which sleep almost anywhere, rabbits always prefer a safe and comfy place to sleep. It is because they are prey animals and are timid and frightened by nature. In the case of wild rabbits, this sleeping place is obviously their warren where they can sleep peacefully without any worries of falling prey to the other large creatures.

While in the case of pet rabbits, a comfortable and comfy hutch or the one bedded with some hay is a perfect place for your bunny to sleep.

How to Put a Rabbit to Sleep?

There are many ways to put a rabbit to sleep at night. The easiest way is feeding them something healthy. Rabbits eat timothy hay or round pellets. Both are safe diets, and rabbits love them. Even if the bunny had his dinner, it is completely safe to go for the second round, but keep the portion small this time. You can see rabbits purr after you serve them something for light chomping.


Some people consider rabbits nocturnal. Neither do rabbits are nocturnal, nor they are diurnal. Instead, they are crepuscular, meaning that they are awake and active during dusk and dawn when the light is low. This behavior is the result of evolutionary changes that have adapted the prey animals, like a rabbit, to survive, feed, and protect themselves from predators.

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