Do Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

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Have you seen a rabbit staring into the air like it is thinking about something, but when you put your face nearer, you could actually hear its snoring? The rabbit is actually sleeping with its eyes open!

But how are they able to do that?

In this article, we will dive deeper into why rabbits can sleep with their eyes open and whether this can be a concern for rabbit owners.

Towards the end of the article, we will also give you some valuable tips on how to improve and give your bunnies a restful sleep, so that maybe they know they can sleep well and with their eyes closed!


Why does your rabbit sleep with its eyes open? (2 reasons!)

Seeing your furry buddy sleep with its eyes wide open shouldn’t cause a scare. It’s quite normal, and I will explain to you why.

Reason 1: Third eyelid (nictitating membrane)

Did you know that bunnies have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane, which is invisible to the human eye?

This translucent eyelid closes while a rabbit is sleeping, which gives the bunny an ear of mystery that blows our human mind.

The nictitating membrane helps the furry creature retain a constant state of vigilance while sleeping. It allows your pet to react if it sees something threatening or perturbing.

A bunny will only close her eyes to sleep when she feels completely safe.

bunnies have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane

Reason 2: Feeling unsafe

From the above point, we know that rabbits use their third eyelids as a defense mechanism when they feel unsafe sleeping properly.

So why is your rabbit sleeping with open eyes around you? Yes, you are right. Your rabbit could feel unsafe around you, and you need to work on putting your pet at ease.

We all know that rabbits are prey animals, so they need to be on high alert. If the rabbit is perfectly comfortable around you, it should always sleep with closed eyes.


5 Ways to tell if your rabbit is sleeping

One of the big pluses in having a bunny as a pet is that you will be super sure when it is at ease or otherwise.

They act agitated when terrified, aggressive when threatened, and recoil if bullied.

These are helpful when trying to tell if your bunny is asleep or not. Here are a few pointers on the signs to take note of.

Twitchy nose

It’s a known fact that rabbits have twitchy noses, and that’s one of the many cute attributes that they possess.

However, you won’t see or notice any signs of twitching once they are sound asleep. They’ll be sound asleep and extremely peaceful in their unique ambiance.

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Once you notice that your bunny is sound asleep, you know this isn’t the time to make jokes or fool around with it.

Snoring

Just like some animals, some rabbits snore while sleeping. Bunnies are adorable, and one thing ultra-cute about them is their snoring.

It’s so different from the grunts exhibited by pigs and the similarly annoying sounds humans make.

However, ensure that you take note of its snores and don’t creep up to its pen. They are notoriously light sleepers.

snoring rabbit

Perfectly still

Bunnies aren’t habitually moving from side to side when they are asleep. They rather nestle in a corner and enjoy their shut-eye with zero disturbance.

If you want to know if your pet bunny is asleep, all you need to do is check out its motion. Once it is perfectly still, it’s most likely perfectly asleep.

The ears will be relaxed

The mystical bunny ears, they’re just the trick. Once your bunny’s ears aren’t pricked up, it’s most likely sound asleep.

When sleeping, the ears will be lying against the head. They will be relaxed, peaceful, and in tune with their immediate surroundings.

Slower breathing

Bunnies are rapid breathers whenever they’re wide awake. However, this changes as soon as they curl up in a corner and fall asleep.

Their breathing will gradually become increasingly soft, and you’ll get the hint.

It is also worthy of note that you should do some work to let your bunny know it can let its guard down around you.


5 Tips to improve your bunny’s sleep

As we’ve explained for the duration of this discourse, bunnies are quite fine sleeping with wide-open eyes.

However, they might revert to sleeping with their eyes closed if they feel genuinely comfortable around you.

So how exactly can you improve your bunny’s sleep whether or not it chooses to sleep with its eyes open or closed? Well, here are a few useful tips.

Access to clean water

Water is essential for any creature, and bunnies aren’t an exception.

If a bunny is in the wild, it’ll have its water supply, but while it’s within your possession, you should regularly give it clean and fresh water.

Regularly hydrating your bunny is key to giving it a healthy lifespan and better quality sleep.

Once you can do this regularly and promptly, there’s no reason why your bunny won’t fall in love with you instantly.

Patience

So often, bunny owners aren’t patient with their furry buddies, making them recoil into their shells and seek solace in silence.

Be patient when training your pet, as that’s the only way to gain its trust.

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Don’t get too mad when a baby bunny isn’t learning everything you teach it on the jump; I guess you weren’t quite the genius yourself.

They might need a little more care, love, and support as they adjust to their new environment.

Provide them with these, and you’re on the path to earning their loyalty and trust.

A healthy and balanced diet 

bunny healthy diet

Bunnies are classy creatures and, as such, won’t be fed with just about any remnants from the family dinner.

You have to go out of your way to do proper research to get what the average bunny would find tolerable, and we aren’t even talking about what’s enjoyable.

The typical furry buddy would love a diet that consists of mostly hay, with some veggies, greens, and fruits.

Once you can do this consistently and pay attention to its peculiar delights, then you’re on the right path.

Keep the environment clean 

Bunnies are creatures of a unique class, and unlike other contemporaries, they can’t thrive in a dirty environment. Ensure you keep their pens clean, fresh, and habitable.

Make sure you change the hay as frequently as possible, never letting more than normal gather up.

It’s also essential to train your bunny with patience, I know I’ve stated this before, but it cannot be overemphasized.

Once your bunny is properly trained, there’s a good chance of it keeping its immediate environment clean and proper.

Screen its neighbors

Not all pets are the same; some are tolerable, while the rest are plain impossible.

Some are friendly, while others are nasty.

Some are angels, while the rest is simply meh.

There’s nothing wrong with a bunny having neighbors or friends around it.

However, it’s very important to ensure that these fellow pets aren’t predators or bad influences on your bunny.

Make sure you do your research diligently to find hidden traits in potential guests of your bunny. Don’t burden it with a pet that might be the death of it.


Conclusion

There’s nothing special or wrong with a bunny sleeping with its eyes open, it’s perfectly normal, and there are a plethora of reasons why it’ll choose that path.

Don’t be worried if you’re checking on your bunny in the dead of night and you notice that its eyes are wide open; it’s not a big deal.

However, ensure that you genuinely make your bunny comfortable around you and your family. That way, it’ll probably close its eyes while sleeping, emphasis on the probably!

The main point is that you should keep its environment tidy, feed it properly, and display love, affection, and patience. Once you do all this, you’re good to go!