Can Rabbits see in the dark?

Welcome to our blog on rabbit vision, answering questions such as can bunnies see in color, and can rabbits see in the dark.

Rabbits are crepuscular, and this means they are most active at dusk and dawn, and as such their vision has evolved to see in low light conditions. Rabbits are not nocturnal.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t see in the dark, far from it. However, unlike nocturnal animals that are more active at night, they do not have excellent night vision.

But compared to humans, rabbits do see better in the dark than we do, and their night visions is 8 times better than humans.

So rabbits can see well in the dark, but they haven’t developed to see in total darkness. What they will see will be a little grainy.

Nocturnal animals, such as Owls, have a part of the eye called the tapetum lucidum, which amplifies all available light and helps them to see in the dark. Rabbits do not have a tapetum lucidum.

Instead, Rabbits use their other senses, like an excellent sense of smell and very good hearing, to stay safe from predators at night.

Rabbits in the morning sunlight, but can rabbits see in the dark?
Rabbits in the early morning sunlight

Do rabbits have good eyesight?

Being a prey animal, rabbits do have very good eyesight, and this is key to their survival.

Like most prey animals, they have their eyes on the side of the head. This means they can see almost 360degs and they are able to see nearly all the way around. They do have blind spots of about 9 degrees. Just in front of their nose and just behind them.

Ever wondered why your rabbit seems a little confused when you hold a treat right under their nose? This is called the chin spot, and small blind spot in front of them.

They see mainly in 2d, so do have a little trouble judging distances, which is why they are so skittish when they sense danger. They turn and bob their heads to get a better understanding of how far away potential threats may be.

Rabbits a predominantly far-sighted. Rabbits have a 3rd eyelid, called a nictitating membrane. This keeps their eyes moist and this means that don’t need to blink that often, only about 10-12 times and hour.

Interesting fact about the pink eyes of an albino bunny. They are actually sensitive to bright sunlight.

Can rabbits see color?

Rabbits can see a limited range of colors, similar to someone who is color blind. They can differ between blue and green, but struggle with red colors.

Do rabbits like to be in the dark?

Yes and No. Rabbits live in an underground tunnel, known as burrows, and these will be totally dark. Being home they will feel safe in this environment.

However, wild rabbits will be on high alert when their leave burrows in full darkness, so whilst a rabbit may be relaxed in the pitch black of their borrow, its safe to say they are scared of the dark when out in the open, which is why they try to avoid it and only venture out with the light is dim.

Should I turn the light off for my rabbit at night?

We have never left a nightlight on for our bunnies, we have just let them sleep! But, it’s really up to you, and depends on how active your rabbit is at night.

If you hear them snuffling around in their enclosures at night you might want to leave a night light on for them to make them feel a little more secure, they are our pets after all.

A rabbit bred as a domesticated pet may also be used to dim lights throughout the night. Just experiment, see how you and your rabbit feel.

If they are in a safe enclosure and in good health with great people looking after them, I’m sure your pet rabbit won’t mind either way.


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