Do Rabbits Play Dead?


There is a saying-

“Nature is always mysterious and the creatures of nature are more mysterious”

Rabbits are wild animals. They are tiny and silent animals than other pet animals. Still, they have so many interesting facts about them that make us surprised. Do rabbits play dead? is a vulnerable question from most of the owners.

This article will help to know the answer and why they do so.

Do Rabbits Play Dead?

Yes, rabbits do play dead. It can be their fun time activity, it can be happened when they are seriously scared and sometimes when they are shocked and start having bad health issues then they play dead.

A rabbit must play dead when it is terrifying. It will lie on its back and remain perfectly stable. But this kind of activity is rare. Rabbits play dead sometimes just for fun. Even a rabbit looks dead when it is in deep sleep. If the rabbit gets a soft cushion for sleeping then it can happen.

Why Do Rabbits Play Dead?

I can guess that if you are reading this article that means you have seen your rabbits act as dead for quiet sometimes, right? Chill out, almost all of us have seen this scene ¬of course. You come back to your room and see your rabbit is dead! It is not moving! Is it dead?

Relax, let me show you when rabbits play dead:

Scared: If your rabbit is scared then it will play dead. It will remain still while lying on its back. If there are any predators around the rabbit, then the rabbit will do it.

Though this is an uncommon scenario. Because rabbits can be silent but not stupid. Moreover, they are so fast. So they intend to run away or dig a hole to hide than them playing dead.

Making Fun: Rabbits take time to create a good bond with its owner. But when it is done then they never feel uncomfortable staying close to its owner. From that perspective, they try to make fool their owner and sometimes do weird things like playing dead!

Deep Sleep: Rabbits are prey animals. So they are scared by nature. They stay alert all the time. They try to pay an alert ear at any sound or a sharp nose to any smell even when they are sleeping. But sometimes they fall asleep deeply and don’t move any ear or leg.

Too Tired: Rabbits are playful. They are so much energy that they can play all day long. But sometimes they also feel tired and stay still and unmoved while their eyes are closed which seems to be dead for a glance.

Do Rabbits Play Dead When Attacked By A Predator?

Rabbits rarely play dead when they suspect that any predator is approaching nearby. Because playing dead will make the rabbit an easy target to kill.

If there is no way, then rabbits try to fight back. They can use their claws and teeth. Rabbits can move at a speed of 30mph. Rabbits are generally confident that they can outrun their predators.

Still, some of the rabbits can play dead. It may hope that the predator will pass him by. When the rabbits are bulky or much old then they intend to do it more often.

Do Baby Rabbits Play Dead Too?

If the rabbit is aged or sick then they try to play dead. But do rabbits play dead too when they are babies?

Baby rabbits learn some behaviors from their mother. Any habits they learn will come from basic instinct. This means a baby rabbit can play dead too. As the baby rabbits don’t get chances to gather many experiences, so they remain noob when they are in any difficult situation. So playing dead can be easy for them at an innocent age.

My Rabbit Plays Dead During Exercise

You may have seen that your rabbit is playing at its playground or outside of the house and suddenly it drops to the ground and plays dead. At this time, either the rabbit is scared or it is too much tired.

You may think that there is no sign of any predator nearby. Why did it happen! My friend, I suggest you look up. There can be a shadow of any flying object that frightened your rabbit. It can be a bird or even any plane flying at a distance.

If the outside is much hotter than usual then your rabbit might feel exhausted early. Then it will find a place for comfort and play dead as it is much tired!

Playing Dead vs. Sleeping

Rabbits remain alert even when they are sleeping. They keep their ears straight and eyes not fully closed. You can listen to the slight click sound of teeth or can see the slight movement of its legs or ears.

But when the rabbit plays dead then it will not move any part of it or not even open its eyes. It is hard to differentiate if the rabbit is playing dead or sleeping because when the rabbit enjoys any paradoxical sleeping then the symptoms will remain the same as playing dead.

Things to Consider

If you have come this far then I can guess you are such a conscious owner. You have already known the reasons behind rabbits play dead. So now these are things you should consider:

  • Make your rabbit’s playground calm and safe. Try to keep its hutch or cage not very far so that if any emergency happens then it can go to a safe place rapidly.
  • If it is summer then try to keep your rabbits inside the house. Because much temperature is not good for their health.
  • Try to keep another pet animal away from your rabbits if you have any if they can’t create a good bond.
  • Keep water around them while they are playing.
  • The last and most important – keep a very sharp eye on your tiny pet rabbits. If there is any unusual while playing dead, you might be able to find out at a once and take the right step.


Rabbits are talented and know how to attract their owner. Sometimes they play dead when they are neglected and sometimes when they are scared or tired. As rabbits are those animals who can hide their inner health problems.

So playing dead is not fun all the time. Try to keep an alert eye on your rabbits.

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