Are Rabbits Nocturnal? Find Out Below

Are Bunnies Rabbits Nocturnal Petsial
Are Bunnies Rabbits Nocturnal

For millennia, we humans have gone to sleep when it’s dark and stayed awake during the day. What about your bunny rabbit? You just can’t tell when they sleep. Sometimes they’re up with you in the morning and other times they’re awake late into the night. Are rabbits nocturnal then?

Rabbits are not nocturnal. However, they are crepuscular. If you notice your rabbit has a penchant for being awake at night (not to mention early in the morning), this would be why.

Wait, what is the difference between being nocturnal and crepuscular? What should a normal rabbit schedule look like? Is your bunny getting enough shuteye? We’ll answer all those questions in this article, so you don’t want to miss it.

What’s the Difference Between Nocturnal and Crepuscular?

Okay, so we just told you that your rabbit isn’t nocturnal, yet they still seem to be doing a lot at night. Why is that?

It’s because they’re crepuscular. It’s like being nocturnal, but not quite.

Let’s define the two terms for clarity’s sake. When an animal is nocturnal, it stays up all night and sleeps during the day. Crepuscular animals prefer two times of the day: sunset and sunrise. These are their busiest times.

The reason you might think your rabbit is nocturnal is because they start getting restless as dusk arrives. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be awake all night, but it’s within their crepuscular instincts to start moving about early in the evening. Once the sun rises, they’ll feel that same instinctual pull and will likely be bouncing about and chomping at the bit.

What Other Animals Are Crepuscular?

Your bunny is not the only crepuscular pet you may own. If you have a hamster, cat, or dog, they too will be most energetic at sunrise and sunset.

When it comes to understanding a rabbit’s crepuscular behavior, it’s relatively simple to figure out why their ancestors have adopted to this lifestyle.

Rabbits are naturally prey. In the middle of the day, if they were to venture out of their burrows, they put themselves in danger of being eaten by a bigger predator. They’re an easy meal. Once dusk falls, visibility begins to decrease. The rabbit is now safe to leave its burrow and forage. Predators would have a harder time catching them.

The same goes for when the sun is coming up. Visibility is not as good as it is during full morning, giving the rabbit one last chance to stock up on food for the day ahead.

Even though you have a domesticated rabbit, it holds onto some of its ancestor’s instincts, such as rising as the sun sets and then as it comes up again.

How Many Hours Should a Rabbit Sleep Daily?

Although they may be awake at hours we could only imagine feeling our most energized, rabbits still get roughly eight and a half hours of sleep every day. If yours is sleeping slightly less than that, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. If your rabbit is sleeping only a few hours, though, then you might want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Something could be wrong. The same is true if it’s oversleeping.

What Does a Normal Rabbit Schedule Look Like?

How do you know if your rabbit is getting just the right amount of sleep? You should have a general idea of their daily schedule. Now, do keep in mind that every rabbit is different. Yours might not follow this schedule down to the letter. If they’re getting about eight, eight and a half hours of sleep, then there’s no reason to stress.

Sunrise

As the day begins, your rabbit will be up and at ‘em. They may be roaming their enclosure, running, playing, digging, and grooming themselves. They’ll also be eating plenty.

Morning

All that fun has tired out your bunny. By the time you’re probably leaving for work or several hours after you go, your rabbit will take a nice bunny snooze. Sometimes they come out and nibble on food, but not always. They’ll typically just sleep.

Afternoon

If your bunny is dozing off well into the afternoon, don’t be worried. This is prime sleeping time for rabbits.

Sundown

Once the sun begins setting, your rabbit will once again awaken. You might just be coming home from work at this time to see them do it. Your rabbit will probably relieve themselves since it’s been a while. If more grooming is necessary, they’ll do it. All that sleeping worked up an appetite, so they’ll continue eating as well.

Evening

Your rabbit will still be awake, probably doing all the above. Between sundown and evening time is ideal for taking your rabbit out and letting them get some exercise. If you want to snuggle with your bunny, you should try to do it later in the day as well.

Late Night

You might head off to bed long before your bunny does. This is normal. They’ll sleep some of the night away. Between the morning-to-afternoon sleeping and this period, they should acquire their eight and a half hours.

The sun then comes up again, beginning another day. Your rabbit is up with the sun, ready to repeat the process.

Conclusion

Since you can often see and hear your rabbit roaming around their enclosure at night, you may have assumed they’re nocturnal. What rabbits are instead is crepuscular. This is a term that refers to periods of activity at sundown and sunrise.

While rabbits should sleep about eight and a half hours every day, this can vary somewhat from bunny to bunny. If you’re home all day at some point, you should watch your rabbit’s daily schedule. They’re awake with the sun, sleep in the morning and afternoon, and reawaken at sundown. They’ll then spend a few hours romping around at night until they tire themselves out and sleep again. As the sun comes back up, they repeat the process.

If your rabbit is sleeping more than eight hours or is barely getting any sleep, we recommend taking them to your vet just to be safe. Good luck!