Image of rabbits, a dream catcher and a rabbit with "zzz" over his head. The caption reads "Do Rabbits Have Dreams."

Yes, rabbits dream regularly during deep sleep and will twitch, kick or grind their teeth while they are dreaming. Sometimes people think that their rabbit is having a medical problem but this behavior during sleep is completely normal for rabbits.

Do rabbits dream

As stated, rabbits do dream. I think the big question is why do rabbits dream and what are they dreaming about. Let’s explore what we do know about dreaming and figure out what is going on in their furry little heads.

Sleep Patterns

Rabbits do not have the same sleep patterns as humans do.  Rabbits are not nocturnal as most people think, they are crepuscular. In layman’s terms this means they are a hybrid of between being awake at night and during the day.

One of the other ways rabbits survive other than in sheer numbers is by being active when the two “shift” changes occur from nighttime (nocturnal) predators to daytime (Diurnal) predators.

Here is an example. Owls have huge eyes that see in the dark well but as the sun comes up their vision gets much worse, so they do not like to hunt currently. Hawks have excellent eyesight is broad daylight but don’t see well in lower light situations therefore they do not hunt until they can see well. Therefore, rabbits are more active during this time between day and night. Rabbits want to take advantage of this time when there is less danger.

Info-graphic showing how fast pet rabbits reproduce.

Why do rabbits dream and what they dream about?

While we do not know what rabbits are dreaming about specifically, we do understand what is happening during a dream state in rabbits. All mammals do dream while we believe fish and insects do not dream because they never enter REM sleep. It should be noted that the larger the mammal the longer the dream lasts. This is most likely due to the size of the brain we believe.

There are two ways scientists have studied rabbits during sleep. The first is the rabbits physiological behaviors during sleep. The other is to study their brain while sleeping with scientific instruments.

After many studies from the 1960’s to present day we have learned a lot about how rabbits dream and what they dream of. Much of this research has been completed by MIT, here is what they figured out.

Research looked at the firing patterns of certain cells while in REM sleep. The firing patterns indicate that rabbits do have dreams and their dreams are connected to real life events. Interestingly this also proves that rabbits do remember events, tasks and behaviors or habits.

Rabbits are capable of looking at their past experiences during dream and while awake. Historically we thought that only chimpanzees and dolphins could look at past experiences.

Image of a rabbit sleeping.

Rabbits sleep schedule

Here are some general guidelines that all pet rabbits as well as wild rabbits will follow under most circumstances. This schedule can help you know when to feed your rabbit.

  • Early morning – This is when rabbits start moving for the day. They will eat, play, run and dig.
  • Morning – Rabbits may continue eating but will eventually bed down somewhere and rest.
  • Noon – Rabbits are least active currently and probably in and out of deep sleep.
  • Afternoon – Most rabbits will still be sleeping at this time still. Some may get up and poop or eat a snack.
  • Evening – Rabbits start moving around, eating and pooping.
  • Night – Some rabbits will stay awake later into the night but by midnight most rabbits are not overactive.

Rabbit dreams

Although your rabbit may have a different sleep cycle than us humans they do dream. As studies indicate it is most likely that rabbits dream of past experiences about what happened that day or six months ago. These dreams are most likely related to memorable experiences where fear or joy was involved.

About the Author

My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.

I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.