Crepuscular animals are those that are most active at twilight. Some will also be active at nighttime, or even in the day, but dawn and dusk are their times of greatest activity. But are rabbits crepuscular?
Rabbits are crepuscular. Although rabbits are often awake both in the day and at nighttime, they are most active at dawn and dusk.
This simple fact will greatly influence the best way you can interact with your pet rabbit. I’ve come up with 9 facts to help you understand your crepuscular friend, what to do about it, and best engage with your pet.
Now, do remember that your rabbit will be quite particular with the way things should be done, and they are suckers for sticking to a routine. However, as you will see with these facts, it’s all generally tied into their natural instinct, so we do stress you should never try to change this.
After all, how bad do you feel when someone comes along and tries to change your routine? Well, don’t try to do that to your rabbit as they will no longer be your best friend.
Fact 1: It Doesn’t Mean They are Nocturnal
The first thing to say is that this does not mean they are nocturnal. In fact, your rabbit is going to often be their most active at either dusk or dawn. Sure, they can still be active during the night, but it’s at those two times of the day when they are most alive.
That’s why your house bunny will be wanting to get up and play when we are winding down for the day. They have slept for chunks of our day, and now they want to have some fun. Also, it explains why they seem to be the same when you get up early for work.
Nocturnal does tend to refer more to animals that are highly active only in the dead of the night. However, if you manage to see your rabbit at those times, then they will often be just as lazy and uninterested in life as you are at those times.
Fact 2: They Like to Sleep Day and Night
What this basically means is your rabbit will enjoy having naps both day and night. We all think they are up and running around like crazy as soon as night comes, but it’s simply not true.
Their most active times are split into those two sections of dusk and dawn. [Source] They cover several hours at both sections, but then your rabbit will simply chill and relax at other times.
Fact 3: They Cannot See in the Dark
Animals that are truly nocturnal will be able to see in the dark due to having their own version of night vision. However, the rabbit doesn’t have that.
Actually, the night vision of a rabbit is closer in nature to what we have as humans. In short, when it’s very, very dark they simply cannot see unless things are highlighted by night.
That is partly why they are more active at dusk and dawn. It’s safer for them because a wild rabbit would become prone to being attacked by predators at night that have better vision.
Fact 4: Rabbits Struggle with Heat, so That Explains Daytime
Another reason why rabbits are more active at dusk and dawn is to do with the temperature. They struggle when it’s either too hot or too cold, so these times are generally going to be easier for them from a weather perspective.
Now, you may wonder why that would affect your home rabbit. After all, the temperature in your home is going to be remain quite constant throughout the day, but it’s all because this is something that is naturally in your rabbit.
They are hardly going to change their natural instinct to then tie in with your home. They love dusk and dawn, can sense when it’s that time, and they will then want to play and have fun.
Fact 5: It Goes With Their Preferred Eating Times
In the wild, a rabbit will also prefer to graze at dusk or dawn. Once again, it’s tied in with the facts we have mentioned above. The rabbit feels it’s safer to graze while they avoid the midday sun and the coldest times of the night. [Source]
Once again, that’s why even your house rabbit will be wanting to munch away on something at those times, and yet they don’t appear to be remotely interested in food during our daytime. Their digestion is more active, like everything else, at these set times, so don’t try to change it.
Fact 6: They Would Find it Safer to Dig Burrows
OK, so this is more to do with wild rabbits, but they are also crepuscular because they would find it safer to dig burrows and work on their home at these times. Yet again, it’s all tied in with this idea of feeling safe and the reduced chances of running into some kind of predator.
So, if you never see your rabbit messing around with their bed, and then suddenly they are re-decorating at dawn, then it’s all a natural thing for them to do.
Fact 7: They Prefer to Groom at Dusk
So, here is something else that’s interesting about rabbits being more alive at either dusk or dawn, they seem to prefer to groom themselves at dusk compared to any other time of day.
In general, their day will go along these kinds of lines. They sleep during the day, wake up, go to their litter tray, and then groom themselves. They feel quite settled to do things this way, and it’s thanks to their energy levels being higher.
Also, even we like to feel our best after a sleep, so it should be no surprise that your rabbit will want to do the same. So, even if you see them waking up at dusk, just let them get on with their own routine, and then they will be ready to come out and spend some time with you.
Fact 8: It Fits With Their Strict Mealtimes
Your rabbit is pretty strict when it comes to mealtimes, and they will want to stick to eating around the same times every day. You won’t be shocked to discover that these mealtimes are linked to dusk and dawn, so you must make sure that your rabbit has access to food for when they wake up at both times.
Even though you have a house rabbit as a pet, that doesn’t mean their natural body clock is going to be willing to adapt. Actually, the contrary will apply.
But here’s the cute thing. If you are behind in the mealtimes, then your rabbit will let you know by circling around. It’s best to have everything in place for them, especially for the dawn time, so let them get on with eating to then set them up for some fun while they are awake.
Fact 9: They Won’t Appreciate You Trying to Change Things
So, here’s the final fact, your rabbit is not going to appreciate you trying to change things around for them, so don’t bother with it. Not only will it prove to be exceptionally difficult, but they will not be your best friend at trying to upset their rhythm.
By trying to get them to sleep and be awake at the same time as you, it does mean you are going to have them working against their natural instinct. This will only ever lead to a grump rabbit that is not going to be any fun to have around.
So, there you have it. Your rabbit is indeed crepuscular, and just let them get on with their day. Yes, it might not fit in perfectly with what we would like to happen, but your rabbit is content with everything that’s going on, and a happy rabbit should be your focus.
Just make sure you have their food ready and be willing to play at times they want because, after all, they want to rule the roost.