During those instances when your fur pal seems to be staring into space, he may actually be in deep slumber. So, do rabbits sleep with their eyes open? How do they do that, and is it restful for them?
Like most creatures, getting enough sleep is vital to rabbits. How long they sleep varies, but generally, they spend around 8 to 12 hours snoozing. However, unlike humans, they don’t rest 8 to 12 hours straight. Instead, they take naps throughout the day, squeezing in two longer sack times between those mini shut-eye.
Rabbits can snooze either way. Whether they close their eyes when they sleep or let those peepers stay open depends on how tired or relaxed they are.
There’s a fascinating fact about rabbits’ eyes. Those peepers have a third eyelid, called nictitating membranes, that is clear and, therefore, invisible to humans.
Because they’re prey animals, rabbits rarely feel entirely safe. In the wild, they have to be constantly alert to avoid predators.
Sleeping with only their third eyelid closed makes rabbits more sensitive to light changes and lets them detect movement even when they’re dozing. As such, they can react quickly if they sense danger.
Sleeping with the eyes fully open makes the rabbit look awake even when, in reality, he’s getting his much-needed rest. This can deter other animals from targeting him.