how do rabbits sleep

How Do Rabbits Sleep? A Thorough Explanation

If you have a rabbit in your home, then you have to know about their routine very well. One of the most important parts of their routine is sleep. You have to make sure that your rabbit gets ample sleep to stay healthy. But if you are new owner, one of the questions that can come to your mind is – how do rabbits sleep?

A rabbit sleeps with their eyes open and can sleep on its side, front or even in the loaf position. They breathe very slowly when they sleep. You can even notice them snoring.

To know more about the signs of your rabbit sleeping and how much sleep they need, read on. We have provided a complete guide on the sleeping pattern of your rabbit.

How Do Rabbits Sleep?

As we have stated above, a rabbit can sleep at any positions, be it on their sides, front and back. Some of the common ways in which rabbits sleep are:

Rug Position:

The rabbits tend to lie on their front completely stretched out. Here, their back legs are always stretched backwards while the front limbs are tucked up or stretched out.

Loaf Position:

This position is quite common for the rabbits to sleep. Here, they look a lot like that of the bread loaf. Hence, it is called loaf position. The rabbis will have hunched up back with the legs completely tucked below them.

Flop Position:

This is another common sleeping position for the rabbits. In this position, the rabbits sleep on their side with the feet sticking out in the front.

Rabbits sleep with their eyes open and hence it can be confusing for you to know whether they are sleeping or not. You can notice some of the signs to know if your rabbit is asleep. You will notice that their ears are relaxing and folding down on the head when they are sleeping. This is the major sign of your rabbit is falling asleep. Also, you will notice that their nose stops wiggling as they fall asleep. You can even hear light snores too.

do rabbits sleep

Do Rabbits Sleep?

There are many people, you may notice, who claim that rabbits don’t sleep. That is not truth. They do sleep but they may not have noticed it. The reason is quite obvious as they sleep with their eyes open. Rabbits usually sleep for a long period of time, twice in a day. In fact, the rabbits take many small naps too throughout the day.

Rabbits love to get some sleeps in short naps rather than sleeping for long hours. Hence, many people can mistake a sleeping rabbit as one who is awake. But rabbits often take naps with their eyes open which can lead to this confusion. For this, you need to know – how do rabbits sleep and how to know they are sleeping.

Why Rabbits Keep Eyes Open While Sleeping?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by the rabbit owners. Not every animal sleeps with their eyes open. Rabbits have learned sleeping with their eyes open as they use it as their defense mechanism. There are mainly two reasons why rabbits sleep with their eyes open. These are:

To Create An Illusion:

Most of the time rabbits sleep with their eyes open as to create an illusion that they are awake. Predators can attack the rabbits when they are sleeping as they tend to be less alert when they are asleep. To make sure that no one attacks them, they tend to sleep with eyes completely open.

To Be More Alert:

When the rabbits sleep with opened eyes, the light can reach into the eyes faster than when it is closed. So, in time of any danger, the rabbit will know it faster when they sleep with eyes opened instead of closing it.

rabbits sleeping

Signs Of A Rabbit Sleeping

Now that you know about – how do rabbits sleep, it is important to know the signs of their sleep. As the rabbits are quite known for their weird sleeping habit with open eyes, it can be quite difficult for you know if a rabbit is sleeping or just relaxing and awake. It is true that a relaxing yet awake rabbit looks quite similar to that of a sleeping rabbit. There are some signs that you can notice to tell if your rabbit is sleeping or not. You have to be very careful while noticing these signs:

  • You may have noticed the nose of rabbits tend to twitch when they are awake and alert. The nose of the rabbits stops twitching when they are fast asleep.
  • You will also notice that the rate of breathing drops drastically when the rabbit is in deep sleep.
  • Though not every rabbit snores, but many rabbits tend to snore while they are sleeping. You can hear those small rasping and soft grunting noises while they are asleep.
  • Also, you can notice their relaxed ears as it is a sign of them sleeping. When the ears are sticking upright, it means they are alert and wide awake.
  • One of the signs that rabbits are in deep sleep is that they are dreaming. Their ears, eyelids and legs tend to twitch a bit when rabbits are having dreams.

Can Rabbits Sleep In The Dark?

The rabbits can sleep in the day as well as in the night. So, it doesn’t matter if it is dark or it is not, the rabbits can sleep anytime. They take hints from the light to know whether it is dark or it is light. They take short naps and it can be even in the darkest hours.


Now that you know – how do rabbits sleep, it will be easier for you to understand when the rabbits are sleeping. A rabbit needs about 8 hours of sleep every day to remain healthy. They do get that with some short naps accompanied by two long-hour sleep. But they are quite sensitive to light and sound as they mostly sleep with opened eyes. So, you have to be careful about the noises when they are sleeping.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Check out my comprehensive guide on the best rabbit food.

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