What Are Rabbits' Sleeping Habits?

As prey animals, rabbits are in constant danger of becoming predator snacks. Your pet rabbit's sleeping habits don't differ significantly from his wild ancestors. Even though he's safe in your home or outside in a hutch, he's always aware that some carnivorous species could devour him. To ensure your rabbit gets sufficient rest, keep him in a quiet, safe place and provide him with plenty of comfortable bedding.

rabbits
Snoozing rabbit amongst flowers.
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Day Sleepers

In nature, rabbits sleep during the day. Dawn and dusk are their primary activity periods. That means the best time to play with your bunnies is early evening or before you head off to work. When he's relaxed and snoozing, your rabbit will either lie sideways, or on his stomach, back legs stretched out behind him. Some rabbits sleep upright. If you want to know if your bunny is taking a snooze while upright, check his ears. If they're down, folded on his head, he's sleeping.

Life in the Wild

The sleeping patterns of wild rabbits differs somewhat from their domestic cousins, especially in the summer months. While a rabbit such as the Eastern cottontail still sleeps during the day, foraging at dawn and dusk, he's more active at night in the summer, when food is more readily available. While wild rabbits sleep in the daytime, they're careful to keep themselves hidden from predators. Warm weather is also rabbit mating season, with courtship displays occurring at night.

Don't Bother the Bunny

If you notice your bunny snoozing, leave him alone and wait until he's fully awake to take him out of his cage for playtime. If you do wake him up, don't be surprised if he's in a bad mood and tries to bite you. You're disturbing his natural daytime sleeping pattern, and he won't appreciate it.

Bunny Sleeping Areas

In the wild, bunnies sleep in burrows or deeply nested areas. Provide your pet with a safe, secure place to doze. Your best bet for bedding is either hay or straw, both of which he can eat. In fact, your rabbit needs a constant supply of hay to help keep his gut moving and his constantly growing teeth worn down. He can chew on straw, but it won't provide the nutrition of hay. If your rabbit lives outside in cold weather, he needs sufficient bedding to keep him warm.