If you are wondering how long do rabbits sleep, you will be surprised to find that they have been known to clock up over eleven hours of slumber per day.
Sleep is important to these furry ruminants and if you have one in your home it’s well worth reading on to learn more about their intriguing sleep habits and how you can help them enjoy the best sleep possible.
For any living animal, sleep is vital. It’s time to recharge and relax and also help the body health and strengthen. But how long do rabbits sleep? is there a certain length of time they need each day? Let’s find out.
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Scientific research into how much sleep rabbits clock up
Like humans, the subject of sleep in rabbits has fascinated scientists and animal behaviorists who have completed a number of studies. These studies have used observation and monitoring of brainwaves to total up the hours a typical rabbit spends sleeping and the type and quality of sleep experienced. Studies completed have found that they clock up anything from 8 hours to 11.4 hours per day.
Not all rabbits sleep time is the same
The experts did not only work out how long bunnies nap for, but they also were able to find out that bunny rabbits like yours have different kinds of sleep.
Did you know that rabbits have at least six different types of sleep?
Electrophysiological studies have identified diverse sleep states in members of the Leporidae family including:
- Active sleep without Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
- REM sleep
- Quiet sleep
- Freeze stare
About a quarter of pet rabbits‘ nap time will be in a drowsy state and the vast majority of their rest is slow war sleep, the deepest form of sleep known.
A smaller amount of nap time is spent in REM sleep which, like humans, is the type of sleep where dreams can take place! There is also a strong diurnal variation (changing with the time of day) in the type and duration of their sleep which we explore below.
What does that all look like to you and me?
Your pet rabbit will likely bed down to their 8 hour stretch in the daytime. Right when you want to play, huh? This is because rabbits are crepuscular; animals that are most active during dawn and dusk.
They have a strong light-dark cycle and increased wakefulness in the dark. So while we are snoozing, these nocturnal animals will be at their most active. Their level of wakefulness and nighttime activity increases with age.
Sleep behaviors of the bunny rabbit.
When you watch your rabbits’ sleep you will notice that they can have all sorts of positions and neat behaviors depending on the sleep state that they are in. Here are some of the ones you are most likely to see.
- All stretched out When these bunnies bed down, they enjoy lying on their stomachs with their legs stretched out behind them. If you have more than one rabbit, you find that in hot weather, they will want plenty of space around them to prevent overheating.
- Lying on one side They can also lie on their side and may look dead when they do this.
- Curled up in a ball Cooker months necessitate conserving body heat.
- One or both eyes open Being prey animals, rabbits never completely let their guard down and always retain some degree of arousal.
- Upright! Adult wild rabbits can sleep upright to be ready to get away from predators at a moment’s notice.
- Ears folded down This is the equivalent of turning the lights out for a rabbit, and means they are getting some serious shut-eye.
Help your rabbit make the most of their sleep
It is important for the health and well being of your pet that the sleep rabbits get is of good quality and adequate duration. Sleep will always be best if your bunny is not stressed so keep stressors like hunger, cold, noise, and inappropriate lighting to an absolute minimum.
You may also want to consider keeping more than one rabbit so they can enjoy proximity to others of their own kind. Because they are prey species they are much more relaxed when in a group and will sleep better if not alone.
Give your bunny a cozy place to sleep
Provide your pet rabbit a safe and quiet environment with clean and comfortable bedding where they can get down to a good snore. Make the most of the early morning or evening periods for playtimes with your bunny as this is when they will be awake and at their best!
Frequently asked questions
Q. Should I wake my bunny rabbit from sleeping?
A. It is best not to disturb a sleeping rabbit. This will make them become irritable and could earn you a sharp bite!
Q. Can I train my pet rabbit to stay awake in the day?
A. No. This would be going against their innate behaviors and may become stressful to them. Ignore websites that promote such techniques.
Q. Why is my rabbit making a grinding sound?
A. If you hear a low grinding noise while your rabbit sleeps, you need not be alarmed. This is positive behavior and indicates your pet rabbit is deeply relaxed, much like when a cat purrs.
Do rabbits hibernate?
Unlike some related mammals, rabbits do not hibernate or have a dormant period. Wild rabbits tough it out and remain active all winter, though warmth and food is scarce. Winter is a stressful time for them as they exhaust any and every supply of food they can find. For a pet rabbit with more consistent conditions, they are able to continue as normal though they may be colder if kept outdoors.
It’s good to know that your rabbit should be clocking up at least good 8 hours of sleep in their hutch and the best times to have a cuddle and play. It’s clear that sleep is very important to rabbits’ health and quality of life, so putting the effort in to assist them in sleeping will definitely help in getting the most out of their days.