Has anyone ever told you that you are ‘Sleeping half your life away?’.
If you were a rabbit, perhaps they would! Rabbits love to sleep, and they do it during the night and some more during the day too.
On average rabbits sleep for between 9 and 14 hours over a 24-hour period. They will sleep for between 7 and 11 hours at night, depending on the rabbit, and they also have a few naps during the day, often of between 2-3 hours in total.
People who do not know rabbits very well might think that rabbits are more lively at night since they could catch them snoring away for long periods during the day. They really do sound like a bunch of sleepy heads!
They’d be wrong though. The truth is that rabbits are crepuscular, which is a fancy word for the fact that they are very active at dawn and then very active again at sunset. Other than that they are very chilled and love to have a long sleep at night. They also enjoy a few naps during the day. [Source]
In The Wilds, Rabbits Need to Get Up Early
Some theorize that it is safer for them to be busy in the wilds in the early hours of the morning finding food than at night. Then again at dusk before night sets in. So, this is when rabbits are at their busiest. Eating, foraging and finding their perfect mates! At these times, they will leave their sleeping babies in the warren all safe and sound.
If you are thinking of sharing a bedroom with them, this makes them easy enough to share a room with, that is of course if you are an early riser, as they will be fully awake very early in the morning.
Rabbits are Individuals
Not all rabbits sleep the same amount of time, but you can find some rabbits sleeping up to 11 hours a day. This is probably a little more on the excessive hour’s spectrum than most. Just like humans, rabbits are individuals and will sleep as much as they need. If they have been quite active, they will need more sleep.
A good rest is healthy for a rabbit and helps to keep him in optimum health.
If they feel safe they will sleep more.
A rabbit will get a good solid eight hours to sleep at night if they can. This is if the conditions are good. If you want your rabbit to rest fully, or to share a room with your rabbit, for example, you have to mimic the environment of their burrow or warren.
A rabbit will burrow down into their burrow, and once down there it is very dark indeed. It is also quite cool, so no heaters are required for them to get a good nights sleep. If, however, if it is freezing, then they will need additional blankets or hay to snuggle down in. This is a good time when their best friend becomes even more important to them! They are quite content to snuggle up and keep warm from the heat of each other’s bodies.
Indoor Hutches and Things to Look Out For
If you keep your rabbit indoors as many do now, you might find that you will have to tweak the environment a little to help your pet get some good rest. If there is a lot of movement in the room they are in, a blanket thrown over their hutch can help to block this from eyes view. Noise can also be a factor, so try and place their hutch in a quieter area of your apartment or home. That way, they will not be startled by loud or unexpected noises.
Rabbits often sleep with their eyes open, this is a clever instinct that protects them in nature from predators. So don’t be alarmed if you see this. Their breathing will slow and their noses will twitch less when they are asleep. Just in case you are unsure if they are awake or not!
Balance is Key with All Pets
Part of caring for your pet is making sure that they are fed, exercised, and also get a good night’s rest. During the day, they also need spaces to go and snooze, and many rabbit owners build little burrows around their main hutch to encourage time out zones for snoozing or just chilling.
If you feel your pet bunny needs a nap, they do love a good body massage or stroke, and this can send them off to sleep easily. This is helpful if they are not feeling too well, or if you are sharing your bed with them.
Pet them mostly around the ears and face, and don’t use sudden movements, but rather slow and rhythmic ones, they will be dozing off in no time at all.
As mentioned earlier, rabbits do enjoy a solid 8 hours at night, but will flop over and nap almost anywhere any time during the day, particularly if they have just had a good meal, or have been playing with their friends. [Source]
Despite the fact they will sleep anywhere a bunny needs a good bed, so let’s look at what this means.
A Good Bed For a Good Nights Rest
Rabbits do have a habit of going to the toilet anywhere, which will cause them a problem if their sleep area is not cleaned often. The best thing to do is to section off an area that your bunny will use for sleeping. This way, they are less likely to use that area as a toilet.
If they are exposed for long periods to their urine or feces they can become unwell. So, it makes sense to separate this area if possible. The same goes for their eating station. That is why many seasoned rabbit owners will section off hutches to keep certain areas to be used for certain things.
Bedroom Design, Rustic or Fabulous?
A rabbit bedroom is really easy to assemble and can be as easy and simple as a cardboard box with a door cut into it or as fancy as a special sleeping hutch. Just make sure there are chew toys in the box so that your rabbit is not tempted to nibble on his bedroom walls.
It is up to you how you approach this. To mimic their warren, which is a nice dark and cozy place you can throw in some bedding. Some people use blankets, but this is not advisable, because rabbits love to chew, and they will chew their blankets. This can cause them problems with their intestines later on.
The best bedding would be hay, for example, so that they can chew and nibble if they feel like it, and they always feel like it, and no ill harm will come to them for doing that.
To stop them from chewing their bedding, chew toys can be thrown into their bedding area, this will remove the need for them to nibble on their bedding reserved for sleeping.
Rabbit Friendly Bedding
There are many rabbit friendly materials to use as bedding, this includes plain paper shredded, special pellets that are made especially for rabbits to sleep on. These are good for absorbing little accidents too. Hay is a great material as it can be chewed on and is not toxic.
Before you use any bedding for your pet, check online to see if it is safe. Newspapers would not be a good idea, because if your rabbits start to chew on it, the ink can be toxic. People might think sawdust is good, or even wood shavings or straw, but these can cause choking in rabbits.
It also pays to know that older rabbits like a lot more rest and sleep than younger rabbits, and that older rabbits suffer from sore joints. Your job as a caregiver to your pet is to make sure they are as comfortable as possible, and a good spot to rest and relax is all part of this!
If you don’t like the idea of your rabbit chewing up his cardboard box bedroom, you can invest in a better sleeping area for him. There are all sorts of options available to you. There are wooden beds that are sturdy and long-lasting. Some rabbits love sleeping in specially made hammocks that allow them to cuddle up in feeling snug and safe.
There are specially designed grass beds and beds made of natural media that mimic their warrens. Each rabbit will have their preference. A good tip is to note that there is even odor control sleeping beds, specially made to wick away odor should there be any mishaps whilst bunny is sleeping. Hay can also work quite well at doing this, but does need to be replaced fairly often to reduce the smell.
Having a loyal rabbit as a pet can be so rewarding, and ensuring they are in optimal health is very important. This ensures that the relationship between you both is built on trust and commitment. Ensuring your bunny feels safe when he is asleep is very important, as their instinct can make them a bit fearful to sleep if not in the correct environment.