Are Rabbits Nocturnal? How Active Are Bunnies At Night?

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 19, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2021
A wild orange Rabbit.

Rabbits are small and furry animals; they are one of the most famous pet animals but are often misunderstood.

Rabbits are found all around the globe, with the exception of certain islands of Asia, Madagascar, South America, and the West Indies. Contrary to the popular notion, rabbits are not nocturnal animals.

Rabbits, a type of rodent known for their large ears, soft fur, large feet, springy legs, and tiny tail, are some of the cutest animals you will find in nature.

Rabbits have been used as a symbol of happiness and represent nature and fertility.

Male rabbits are called ‘buck,’ and female rabbits are called ‘doe.’ Baby rabbits are called ‘kittens.’ Rabbits are ‘crepuscular,’ which means that they are primarily active in the twilight hours of sunset and sunrise, unlike nocturnal predators who are primarily active during the night.

A rabbit in the wild can dig sophisticated tunnels, grow and weigh more than 20 lb (9 kg).

You might think that a rabbit’s diet only includes carrots, but this is not true at all!

After reading about the research into the habits of rabbits, read other related fact files on are raccoons nocturnal and are rabbits herbivores?

What does crepuscular mean?

We are familiar with two terms used when an animal is active, nocturnal and diurnal, but what does crepuscular mean?

Crepuscular is a word drawn from Latin which translates to 'Twilight'.

It is a term for those animals that are primarily active at dawn and dusk. There is a perfect reason why animals choose to be active at this time; they want to avoid their predators.

Tons of predators are active during daylight and darkness, so animals like coyotes and deers, which are prey for hundreds of carnivores, are active during twilight hours when their predators are tired from a night of the hunt or are just waking up to the day.

Crepuscular activities allow these animals to be active at a time when temperatures are most reasonable. Animals in the desert can escape the harsh heat and chill of midnight by being active at dawn and dusk instead.

Few animal species might switch from being nocturnal and diurnal to crepuscular if there’s a lot of competition for food in the area.

Why are rabbits crepuscular?

If you have a pet rabbit around your home, you might have noticed that rabbits sleep a lot during the daytime. You might even see a lot of wild rabbits while you are out on your morning runs. Are rabbits nocturnal?

While the crepuscular nature does not help pet rabbits, wild rabbits have developed an anti-predator strategy. Rabbits know about the diurnal predators during daytime and nocturnal predators during darkness.

Instead of taking dangerous risks, wild rabbits choose to be active during hours of twilight. Being crepuscular gives wild rabbits a great advantage as they can avoid their main predators. They quickly limit their confrontations with animals such as eagles, hawks, foxes, and snakes, who are known to feed off of them.

A rabbit’s eye is well developed for low light situations, and it is true, rabbits can see in the dark as they are crepuscular. Even in completely dark conditions, their eyesight is still somewhat usable.

Rabbits can see over larger distances and are able to detect movements quickly. A rabbit’s eye is eight or nine times more sensitive when compared to a human’s eye.

Rabbits have a 360-degree field of vision, no matter what time of the day as a bunny’s eyes are placed on the sides of their head. They are able to see above and behind too!

Having this wide visual range is essential for their survival against predators at any time of the day. Bunnies have exciting habits and behavior such as bunny flop, grunting, and circling around their feet.

How many hours of sleep should a rabbit get?

Bunnies are crepuscular; they are awake at dusk and dawn. They are prey animals always looking out so that a predator does not get to them.

On average, rabbits sleep anywhere between 7-12 hours a day. But a rabbit’s sleep pattern is totally different from a human’s sleep pattern.

As rabbits are prone to danger, they have to be more alert, and that is why they are light sleepers. Rabbits wake up frequently in the middle of their sleep, resulting in shorter periods of rest.

Scientists have concluded their research after watching over male rabbit sleep patterns that, on average, rabbits slept for 11.4 hours or more in a day.

The scientist broke down the sleep pattern of these rabbits as well. The rabbits were in a deep sleep for about seven or eight hours in a day, whereas the light sleepers were in sleep around two or three hours in a day.

Rabbits also happened to be in ‘paradoxical sleep’ something similar to REM in human beings. This might indicate the time when rabbits are actually dreaming!

There are multiple signs to see if a rabbit is sleeping. If a rabbit is sleeping, it will be still as they do not move around when they sleep.

The ears of bunnies will be relaxed whenever they are sleeping, their nose will not twitch, their breathing will be much slower, and sometimes they might even snore as humans do. Your bunny’s behavior indicates a lot.

What time of the day do rabbits sleep?

A lot of people think that rabbits are nocturnal as they are awake at night and sleep during the day, but that is not true at all!

Rabbits are good pets. Rabbits wake up at dawn and usually stay awake till mid-morning. They will usually spend this time eating, playing around, and searching for food.

Around mid to late morning, they will retire to their den and head for quality sleep. They might come out a few times to feed on hay or go for litter, but they will usually sleep for hours.

Evening tends to be the most sociable and relaxed time for bunnies. A rabbit is a very social animal, and they love to sleep with other rabbits around them. Rabbits need a different temperature than humans to sleep.

Humans prefer warmer temperatures, and we use covers to keep up the temperature; however, bunnies prefer a cooler climate as they already have a coating of fur around them, which keeps them warm in all weathers.

Veterinarian advice suggests not sharing beds with bunnies as it can be dangerous for us and for the bunny. Bunnies mark their territories in the environment around them with scent and urine, and they can carry germs to your bed.

Strange rabbit facts include that the teeth of bunnies never stop growing, rabbits can eat their poop, they sleep with their eyes open, bunnies cannot puke, rabbit manure is actually beneficial, and the biggest consumer of rabbits is Malta.

A hutch is a cage for an animal. Rabbits like to take shelter in a hutch, and in the wild, they tend to use burrows.

Like human beings, rabbits get bored very easily without any toys or friends to play around with. If you leave your bunny alone, they might withdraw and get depressed.

You should make your pet bunny exercise for about three hours a day. Exercise keeps your pet bunny healthy. Every bunny is different, and they all have their own unique personality, just like a human being does.

Making sure that two rabbits get around with each other takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. Rabbits are extremely sensitive, and even a gentle child can stress out these cute bunnies in a matter of seconds.

A rabbit can have multiple litters throughout the year, and they can give birth to up to nine babies at once, which are known as ‘kittens'. Mother rabbits in the wild only get a few minutes in a day with their babies as they have to stay separate to avoid drawing the attention of nocturnal and diurnal predators.

These babies grow at a quick rate and stay together as a family.

Rabbits can sleep both in the night and day; they use light cues to decide which time to sleep at; they know when it is the darkest time of the day and when it is the brightest. Your bunny likes to eat fruits and vegetables.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are rabbits nocturnal then why not take a look at are praying mantis dangerous, or can guinea pigs eat bread.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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