I have managed to talk to many bunny owners and heard most of them saying that their pets don’t sleep. Trying to convince them that bunnies sleep was a hard task for they have never witnessed it happening. Maybe because they sleep with their eyes open. For this reason, I decided to carry out research and these are my finding regarding whether bunnies sleep with their eyes open or not.
What is true to say is that bunnies, like other animals, sleep. They not only sleep at night, but they also take naps in between the day. Being prey for many carnivorous animals, bunnies like to have their sleep in intervals rather than having hours of sleep. Depending on the type of bunny you own, some will sleep with their eyes fully open, partially closed, and others fully closed. Not all of them will have their eyes open.
How do you know whether your bunny is asleep or not?
If your rabbit sleep with their eyes open, it is probably the reason why think they never sleep. An awake bunny has similar looks and postures to a sleepy bunny. Hence, while you sit and think that you have never witnessed your bunny sleep, probably you have seen them on multiple occasions. How do I know whether my bunny is asleep or not? At this point, this should be the question
There are several signs to look for or observe to know whether your bunny is sleeping. They include
Wide awake rabbit breaths at a very fast rate. You can even see its body moving up and down from a distance. However, for a sleeping bunny, their breathing rate is slow and peaceful.
This should be straightforward. Not all bunnies will snore but many of them will produce some grunting noise in their sleep.
Their nose won’t twitch
When a bunny is awake and most alert, their nose tends to twitch faster than when sleeping. There close looking at their nose, you will definitely tell whether the bunny is asleep or not.
Twitching ears, mouth, or tails
In their deep sleep, probably when they are dreaming, bunnies will twitch their eyelids, mouth, nose, or ear from time to time. This is an indicator that they are dreaming or they felt something touch them in their deep sleeping state.
Erect and upright ears is a sign that your bunny is wide awake and highly alert. When sleeping, their ars tend to fall by their heads and relax at that position.
Bunnies’ sleeping positions
Apart from the above indicators, you can also learn your bunny’s sleeping position. Bunnies have three common sleeping positions. The sleeping position taken by the bunny defines their personality or how safe they feel. The three sleeping positions are loaf, rug, and flop.
In the loaf position, your rabbit forms a shape that resembles a loaf of bread. They are normally in a doom shape ad their legs placed underneath their body.
In rug position, the bunny’s body will be stretched to the front and their hide legs will be behind the body. Their front legs will either be underneath the body or stretched to the front. This position is common when they are basking.
In flop, the bunny will lay on its side and stick their feet to the front,
While rug and flop are the bunny’s relaxed sleeping position, the loaf position makes them feel safer and easier to escape in case they feel they are in danger. In rug and flop position, bunnies are most likely sleeping with their eyes open.
When do bunnies sleep?
While other animals will either be nocturnal where they are active at night or diurnal, active during day time, bunnies fall I neither of these two categories. Bunnies tend to be crepuscular, which means they are most active in the morning and in the evening. At these two times of the day, the sun is at its lowest form. This is when bunnies tend to be more active. Predators seem to have poor visuals during morning and evening hours which tend to be a good time for bunnies to search for their foods. Although it should be a defense mechanism for rabbits in the wild, instinct and behavior are present even in domesticated bunnies.
Rabbits have two phases of sleep. In their late morning hours to the afternoon, these animals will doze off after which, the remaining part of the day they will short naps and spend the rest of the time eating, playing, and relaxing. The other sleeping phase takes place in the late hours of the night.
Some people will also whether bunnies will sleep better at night or during the day. Bunnies will sleep when the sun in its highest and also at the hours of the night. During the day, avoid blocking the sun’s light from getting to the bunny’s cage. At night, the bunny will sleep as comfortably as they will during the day and a source of lighting is not important. However, ensure that you allow just the right amount of light during the day as too much or too little would put your bunny in distress.
While it might not be possible to train your rabbit to sleep at certain hours, these practices will help it have a more healthy sleep.
Avoid keeping your bunny in a cage the entire day. Keeping them in a place they can move around keeps them active and prevent boredom-induced habits like digging and chewing.
Cover the cage with a blanket. This makes the bunny feel safer
Take away noisy toys from the cage at night
Why do bunnies sleep with their eyes open?
Bunnies keep their eyes open or closed depending on how safe they feel in their habitat. If they feel threatened most of the time, their instinct will be to be alert and therefore sleep with their eye open. In a fully secure habitat, some bunnies will sleep with their eyes fully closed. Also, if you recently bought a bunny and have lived with it for a few days, it is normal to find them sleeping with their eyes open as they scan their new home and before they get used to it. With time, you might find that this behavior will slowly fade away, while for others, it will be there till their old age.
Benefits of bunnies sleeping with their eyes open
Bunnies will sleep with their eyes open as a defense mechanism. This behavior helps them stay alert and therefore fewer attacks from their predators which are likely to attack them when they are not alert, probably when they are asleep. Sleeping with their eyes open gives the predators an illusion that the bunny is awake and therefore will not attack.
Also, with their eyes open, light is getting to them easier and faster. Hence, when an enemy approaches, they can know sooner, which could not be the case if they had their eyes closed.
Rabbits are generally born to be alert all the time in their environments. Close bonding with your bunny and giving it a sense of security would make this habit go away with time for some species while others just prefer to sleep with their eyes open.
Save this pin for later on you bunny related board on Pinterest. Look also at the top list of funny bunny names.