How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Sleeping With Its Eyes Open

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Rabbits can actually sleep with their eyes open as a defense mechanism when they feel unsafe. They are able to keep their eyes open while sleeping by blinking the third eyelid (nictitating membrane) to keep their eyes clean and moisturized.

So how would you know if you rabbit is still awake, since it is capable of sleeping with its eyes open?

The best way to tell whether your rabbit is sleeping is to look out for signs that it is totally relaxed and resting in a comfortable position, while breathing slower than usual.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the specific ways we can use to determine whether or not your bunny is asleep, and also why exactly they are not closing their eyes while they are at it.

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 even with their eyes closed.

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, they are aggressive when threatened and they recoil if bullied.

These are super 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, once they are sound asleep you won’t see or notice any signs of twitching.

They’ll be sound asleep and extremely peaceful in their unique ambiance. Once you notice that your bunny is sound asleep this isn’t the time to make jokes or fool around with it.


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 that humans make too.

However, ensure that you take note of its snores and make sure that’s not the time to creep up to its pen. They are notoriously light sleepers.

snoring rabbit

Perfectly still

Bunnies aren’t in the habit of 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 then its 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.

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Slower breathing

Bunnies are rapid breathers whenever they’re wide awake. However, as soon as they curl up in a corner the difference is the case.

Their breathing will gradually become increasingly soft and as such, 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 while around you.

Why Do Some Rabbits Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

There are a bunch of reasons why bunnies sleep with their eyes open. Some of the reasons include, for protection, out of habit, and also due to their unique anatomy.

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: As A Defense Mechanism:

We all know that rabbits are prey animals and as such, they need to be on high alert. The chances of a predator attacking a fully alert prey are quite slim so it’s clear that your bunny has smart defense mechanisms.

However, there’s a down part of this. It shows that your bunny isn’t truly comfortable around you so there’s some work to be done, if it’s perfectly comfortable around you there’s no reason to deploy this mechanism. Also, it’s not a bad thing if after months and years your bunny keeps up with this habit.

It’s perfectly normal, as they say, ‘old habits die hard’.

Reason 2: Due To Their Anatomy

Another reason being 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.

bunnies have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane

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

It will be awake in an instant and will likely make way to a safer location. No bunny will close her eyes unless she feels completely safe.

That’s more reason why you should give it a reason to feel permanently safe, the more you do the better your results. 

5 Tips To Improve Your Bunny’s Sleep

As we’ve explained for the duration of this discourse, bunnies are quite fine sleeping with their eyes wide open. However, if they feel genuinely comfortable around you they might revert to sleeping with their eyes closed.

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 super essential for any creature and bunnies aren’t an exception. If a bunny is in the wild, it’ll have its supply of water but while it’s within your possession you should give it clean and fresh water regularly.

Regularly hydrating your bunny is key to giving it a healthy lifespan and as such 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.

Interesting READ  How Do Rabbits Feed Their Young?


So many times bunny owners aren’t patient with their furry buddies and this makes them recoil into their shell and seek solace in silence. Be patient when training your pet as that’s the only way you can gain its trust.

Don’t get too mad when a baby bunny isn’t learning everything you teach it on the jump, I guess that 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 its 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 lay attention to its peculiar delights then you’re on the right path.

Keep The Environment Clean 

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

Make sure that you change the hay as frequently as possible, never letting more than normal gather up. It’s also super important 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 that you do your research diligently to find out hidden traits in potential guests of your bunny. Don’t burden it with a pet that might be the death of it.


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 the night and you notice that its eyes are wide open, it’s not a big deal.

However, ensure that you make a genuine effort to have 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, display love, affection, and patience. Once you do all this, you’re good to go!