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In the wake of reports of more animals being night-owls as they tried to avoid human interactions, a 2018 Study revealed that rabbits were spending more time active during the day. But, are rabbits nocturnals?

Unlike other animals in the study that increased their activity during the night, rabbits increased their activity during the day by 5%.

Below is a snapshot showing the charts from the story summary by National Geographic.

Are rabbits nocturnals?

While rabbits are not nocturnals, they have evolved significantly to survive in the wild and their sleep follows crepuscular rythm, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is likely because their predators are mostly nocturnal animals, so being active during those times helps them avoid getting caught.

Rabbits in the wild will also sleep in burrows during the day to escape the heat and predators. In captivity, rabbits should have a place to hide and feel safe so they can get their much-needed rest.

In the wild, it is common to see the rabbits coming out at dawn to graze and then returning to their burrows around dusk. So, if you’re wondering if your pet rabbit is getting enough sleep, as long as they are following this natural pattern, they are probably just fine.

Assuming your rabbit is healthy and has a good diet, there is no need to worry about them not being nocturnal. As long as they are getting enough rest, they will be just fine.

What is crepuscular?

Crepuscular means “of, relating to, or resembling twilight.” So, crepuscular animals are those that are most active during dawn and dusk. Trying to force a rabbit to be nocturnal would go against their natural crepuscular rhythm and their general natural instincts and could cause them stress.

Are Rabbits Night-Owl or Early-dusk Animals?

Rabbits are early-dusk animals and are active from 6 am to around 10 am or mid-morning. Then they will return to their burrows for a rest during the heat of the day and come out again from 4 pm to 8 pm.

This means that if you are up early in the morning, you may see your rabbit out and about getting some exercise. And if you stay up late at night, you may catch them playing around before they head back to their burrow for the night.

In the Animals Stories you’ve probably read before, rabbits are known to be active and engaging with other rabbits at dusk and there are storylines describing that rabbits spend their time cunning other animals.

Do rabbits sleep at night?

While rabbits are not nocturnal, they still sleep during the night.

A healthy rabbit should get around 8 hours of sleep a day. If you find that your rabbit is sleeping more than that, it could be a sign of illness and you should take them to the vet.

Rabbits in the wild will usually sleep in their burrows during the day to escape the heat and predators. In captivity, rabbits should have a place to hide and feel safe so they can get their much-needed rest.

What is rabbits’ sleep like?

Rabbits sleep for short periods of time throughout the day and night for periods not exceeding 2 hours. They usually have a light sleep, which means they can be easily awakened.

Rabbits enter a deep sleep only for a few minutes at a time. During this stage, they are completely still and their breathing and heart rate slow down. If you try to wake a rabbit during this stage, they may be confused and disoriented.

Rabbits sleep for up to 8 hours a day, but the amount of sleep they need varies depending on their age, health, and activity level. Younger rabbits and those that are pregnant or nursing need more sleep than adult rabbits.

How can I tell if my rabbit is sleeping?

  • There are a few things you can look for to tell if your rabbit is sleeping:
  • Their eyes will be closed or half-closed
  • Their body will be relaxed
  • They will be breathing slowly
  • Their ears will be down

Rabbits’ REM and NREM Sleep

Rabbits enter both REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-REM) sleep. During REM sleep, rabbits are completely still and their breathing and heart rate slow down. This is the deepest stage of sleep and if you try to wake a rabbit during this stage, it may be confused and disoriented.

During NREM sleep, rabbits are in light sleep and can be easily awakened. This is the stage of sleep when rabbits enter a deep sleep for only a few minutes at a time.

In a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, rabbits were found to be very active with the majority of the time being involved in some sort of physical activity with minimal time being asleep or inactive – in a typical day (24 hours).

figure 2

Do Rabbits Dream?

Since rabbits enter both REM and NREM sleep, it is likely that they dream. However, we do not know for sure what rabbits dream about.

Rabbits and Nighttime Noises

Rabbits are sensitive to noise and can be easily startled by loud noises at night. If your rabbit is kept in a room that is prone to nighttime noise, it is important to provide them with a place to hide so they feel safe and secure.

Rabbits and Nighttime Lights

Rabbits are also sensitive to light and can be easily disturbed by bright lights at night. If your rabbit is kept in a room that is prone to nighttime light, it is important to provide them with a place to hide so they feel safe and secure.

Rabbits and Nighttime Temperature

Rabbits are sensitive to temperature and can be easily disturbed by cold or hot temperatures at night. If your rabbit is kept in a room that is prone to nighttime temperature changes, it is important to provide them with a place to hide so they feel safe and secure.

Providing Your Rabbit with a Safe and Secure Sleep Environment

Rabbits need a safe and secure place to sleep so they can get the rest they need. Here are a few things you can do to provide your rabbit with a comfortable and safe place to sleep:

  • -Provide them with a soft bed or blanket to sleep on
  • -Place their bed or blanket in a quiet and dark area of the room
  • -Make sure their bed or blanket is not in a drafty area
  • -Provide them with a place to hide so they feel safe and secure

Rabbits are delicate creatures that need a lot of care and attention. By providing them with a comfortable and safe place to sleep, you can help them get the rest they need to stay healthy and happy.

What should I do if my rabbit is sleeping during the day?

There is no need to worry if your rabbit is sleeping during the day. This is normal behavior for rabbits and they will usually sleep more during the hotter hours of the day.

If you are concerned that your rabbit is sleeping too much, you can try to wake them up by making a noise or offering them a treat. If they do not wake up, it is best to leave them be and let them get the rest they need.

Rabbits’ adaptations to survive in the wild:

To survive predators that hunt rabbits, they have evolved to develop habits and behaviors that improve their chances of survival. These include;

  1. They sleep with their eyes open: Rabbits have a third eyelid that helps protect their eyes from debris and predators. This means that they can keep watch even when they are sleeping.
  2. They have excellent hearing: Rabbits have long ears that help them hear predators approaching from a distance.
  3. They are fast runners: Rabbits can run up to 30 mph which helps them escape predators.
  4. They have good camouflage: Rabbits have fur that blends in with their surroundings making them difficult for predators to spot.
  5. They are social animals: Rabbits live in groups and help each other watch for predators.
  6. They are ready to reproduce quickly: Rabbits can start reproducing when they are just a few months old and can have up to 12 offspring at a time. This helps ensure that the species will continue even if some rabbits are killed by predators.

Which other animals are not nocturnal?

  1. Bearded dragoons: Bearded dragons are diurnal and are active during the day and asleep during the night making them great pets to handle when you are up and active during the day.
  2. Chinchillas: Chinchillas are crepuscular and nocturnal animals which means they are mostly active at night and sleep during the day.
  3. Dogs: Dogs are not nocturnal animals, but some breeds such as the Australian Cattle Dog and the Jack Russell Terrier are more active at night than others.
  4. Cats: Cats are not strictly nocturnal, but they are more active at night than during the day. This is because they are natural predators and their prey is more active at night.
  5. Rabbits: As mentioned before, rabbits are not nocturnal animals but they are more active at night than during the day. This is because they are prey animals and their predators are more active at night.
  6. Iguanas: Iguanas are diurnal animals, so they are active during the day and sleep at night.
  7. Parrots: Most parrots are diurnal animals, so they are active during the day and sleep at night. There are few rare breeds of parrots that are nocturnal.
  8. Turtles: American turtles are diurnal animals while Asian turtles are nocturnal and are most active at night and sleep during the day.

Conclusion:

Rabbits are not nocturnal, but they do sleep during the night. A healthy rabbit should get around 8 hours of sleep a day. If you find that your rabbit is sleeping more than that, it could be a sign of illness and you should take them to the vet.

Rabbits in the wild will usually sleep in their burrows during the day to escape the heat and predators. In captivity, rabbits should have a place to hide and feel safe so they can get their much-needed rest.

Rabbits sleep for short periods of time throughout the day and night for periods not exceeding 2 hours.

FAQs

Q: Do rabbits sleep at night?

A: While rabbits are not nocturnal, they still sleep during the night. A healthy rabbit should get around 8 hours of sleep a day. If you find that your rabbit is sleeping more than that, it could be a sign of illness and you should take them to the vet.

Q: What is the difference between a rabbit and a bunny?

A: A rabbit is an adult-grown rabbit while a bunny is a young infant rabbit. You can read the entire guide on bunny vs rabbit

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