Are Rabbits Nocturnal ? – A Guide to rabbit behavior

Last Updated : March 4, 2020
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Are Rabbits Nocturnal?

In the Wild, Rabbits are not nocturnal, but rather Crepuscular. This may vary somewhat with domesticated pet Rabbits, where certain outside factors can affect your Bunnies body clock.

What is Crepuscular?

Crepuscular basically means that Rabbits will be more active around Dawn and Dusk during the twilight period. Especially Rabbits in the Wild.

What is the Difference Between Nocturnal, Crepuscular and Diurnal?

Nocturnal animals are awake during the night, and asleep during the day. Crepuscular animals are predominantly more active during the periods of dusk and dawn, known collectively as twilight. Animals who follow a Dirunal pattern are awake during the day, and go to sleep at night. Much like (Most) Humans!

Why Are Rabbits Crepuscular?

One of the main factors Rabbits have adapted to follow a Crepuscular schedule, is that they are low down on the food chain, and many of their would-be predators are either Diurnal or Nocturnal. By carrying out their day to day activities during the twilight periods they can avoid many of their foes and and therefore reduce the chance of ending up on the dinner or breakfast menu.

There are, unfortunately for the rabbit, exceptions to this namely members of the cat family.

What Does a Normal Rabbit Schedule Look Like?

As we mentioned Rabbits are naturally Crepuscular. Sunrise is a great opportunity to leave the safety of the borrow, and begin their daily routine. this will usually start with some playing activity, grooming and of course breakfast.

By mid morning, its quite common for your rabbit to take a nap back in the safety of the burrow, or hutch. They made continue to feed for a period, especially if they have adapted to your busy human Diurnal schedule.

Afternoon is sleep time. This is when bunnies sleep most, so don’t be alarmed if your Rabbit disappears for a few hours catching up on some well earned rest after a morning’s activity.

As the sun goes down , your bunny will become active again. The first priority maybe a trip to the litter tray to relieve himself, followed by some play and exercise And then, of course, dinner. In the Wild, rabbits will use this period to gather food under the safety of the failing light, away from diurnal predators with less than good night vision, and just before Nocturnal predators with excellent night vision awake and are actively looking for their next feed.

Rabbits Sleep Schedule

How Many Hours Should a Rabbit Sleep Daily?

There are no hard and fast rules here. All bunnies are different, so expect them to sleep for different periods of time.

A happy and content pet rabbit will sleep from 8-10 hours a day! Wild rabbits will sleep considerably less, since they need to remain alert as much as possible to any advancing danger.

Rabbits can also sleep with their eyes open, although this is a sign that your rabbit feels threatened and scared. If you notice this behavior, it would be wise to look at your rabbits environment and surroundings to ensure safe and sound sleeping quarters.

Can You Change Your Rabbits Sleeping Schedule?

Rabbits are naturally Crepuscular, and trying to change this may cause stress and anxiety to your pet. Domesticated rabbits will most likely adapt somewhat to their human owners feeding and activity schedules, but this shouldn’t be forced. if your rabbit is happily asleep, then he should remain so until he is ready to wake up!

Rabbits living indoors will most likely adapt further, due to the presence of unnatural light sources and noise in and around the home.

Why Do Rabbits Sleep During the Day?

Rabbits sleep during the day because they naturally follow a Crepuscular schedule, which we have covered earlier in the article.

Where Do Rabbits Like to Sleep?

Can My Rabbit Sleep In My Bed?

We wouldn’t recommend this. you are obviously much much larger than your rabbit and any rolling over and movement during the night can be very dangerous and cause crushing and suffocation.

Should Your Rabbit Sleep Outside?

Rabbits can most definitely live outside. However you should ensure that their hutch and surrounding areas are secure and out of sight of predators. Merely seeing a predator approach their enclosure can cause a lot of stress for your rabbit.

You should also be mindful of the weather conditions. Ensure the enclosure has suitable shelter from the elements, and provide ample soft, warm bedding for your rabbit to nestle down into during the night.

How Can I Help My Rabbit Get Better Sleep?

If you feel your pet rabbit is not getting enough quality sleep time, it may be a good time to look at their sleeping arrangements. Make sure they have enough soft warm bedding materials. Their living quarters should be clean and free from feces and urine. Sleeping quarters need to be adequately secluded and hidden from any predators, and sheltered from the elements. If your rabbit is still not sleeping, then seek veterinarian advice.

What Other Animals Are Crepuscular?

If you are a animal nut like us, then your Rabbit is probably not the only crepuscular resident in your home ! some other crepuscular animals include:

  • Chinchillas
  • Hamsters
  • Ferrets
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Dogs
  • Capybaras
  • Dogs (although domesticated dogs tend to follow a human schedule more)
  • Cats

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