Can Rabbits See In The Dark? Do They Have Night Vision? Can They See Color?

Can rabbits see in the dark?

It is often thought that rabbits are nocturnal, and so people also naturally assume that they have very excellent night vision.

However, rabbits are not nocturnal, they are crepuscular.

This means that they are most active during the twilight hours, at dawn and dusk.

But what does this mean for a rabbit’s night vision?

Can Bunnies See In The Dark?

can bunnies see in the dark
Rabbits out at night will freeze in a spotlight

Can bunnies see in the dark?

Yes, rabbits can see in the dark, but not very well.

Their eyesight works best in the low light of dawn and dusk.

Similar to human eyes, a rabbit’s vision will adjust to the conditions.

They will be able to easily discern movement in the dark, but will also rely on their other senses, like smell and hearing.

Rabbits have adapted to be most active in the early morning and early evening, and so their vision has also adapted likewise.

Because this is when they are doing the bulk of their feeding, wild rabbits in particular need to have good vision to be on the lookout for predators.

Do Rabbits Have Good Eyesight?

A rabbit’s vision isn’t excellent, but it’s better than many other animals.

They also have a few cool things that are more unique to them and quite different from the likes of cats and dogs.

Facts about rabbit eyesite from the video above:

  • Rabbits can see behind them
  • They can sleep with their eyes open, but don’t always
  • Bunnies don’t blick very often
  • They can’t see red
  • Rabbits are farsighted
  • They don’t have good night vision
  • Bunnies don’t have great depth perception

Reading these rabbit vision facts can leave you thinking that rabbits can’t see all that well at all, but they get by very well.

Rabbits rely on seeing movement and reacting to that.

I also clearly remember when my two rabbits were very young they would tear around our lounge room at great speed chasing one another and having a ton of fun.

They never hit into anything or got out of control despite going very fast, and could always find their way to where they were going.

Whether or not rabbits see color is also interesting.

Rabbits can see vague colors, but they don’t see color nearly as well as humans.

Rabbits see hues of:

  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Green

But, as already stated, one big difference between us and them is that they don’t have red color receptors.

They are herbivores, so as long as they can see the green grasses and leaves that they love, they’ll be all good.

Rabbit Field Of Vision

rabbit field of vision
Source: PDSA UK

The anatomy of a rabbit’s eye is what causes it to have a good low light vision.

One of the most interesting aspects is the third eyelid or ‘nictitating membrane.’

This allows them to sleep with their eyes open if they wish, blinking only the third eyelid to keep their eyes moist.

However, most pet rabbits, if kept in an outdoor hutch or area free from predators, will feel safe enough to sleep with both eyes closed.

Personally, my pet rabbits always have their eyes closed for a good snooze.

rabbit to change its circadian rhythms
My rabbit Annie relaxing

Or, at least, they sleep with one eye closed, and the other open, especially when safe inside their travel carrier bed.

The cool thing with rabbits is that they have a complete field of vision.

The way rabbits’ eyes are situated high on the sides of their heads gives them an almost 360-degree field of vision.

This means they can see behind themselves.

They do have a small blind spot directly in front of them, but if a predator has made it that close it’s probably already too late.

Rabbit Vision FAQs

do rabbits like the dark
Annie having some rabbit pellets at sunset

Do rabbits like the dark?

As long as your pet rabbit has a safe space it will be OK for her to be alone in the dark.

If your rabbit feels vulnerable, it won’t like the dark or the light.

Wild rabbits spend most of the night and day in dark holes, so it’s not something they are afraid of.

So rabbits get lonely at night?

Loneliness is more of a human experience, but in the wild rabbits do live in a community.

While they may not feel lonely as we can, they will thrive more with companions.

Should I leave a light on at night for my rabbit?

No, you should let them experience the night/dark naturally, and not leave a light on.

Don’t try to artificially create night and day for them, we have the sun for that.

A natural day and night are best for rabbits.

Do bunnies like to sleep on blankets at night?

You can give them blankets to sleep on or in, so long as they don’t start consuming it.

Check out this list of the best rabbit bedding materials, as hay would be better for them.

Do rabbits get cold in the dark?

Rabbits could get cold in the dark if they don’t have a secure, well-insulated hutch.

Check out these chicken coop heaters as they can also be used for keeping rabbits and other small animals warm as well.

Can Rabbits See In The Dark?

Yes, rabbits can see in the dark better than we can, but it’s not when they have their optimal vision, as is often thought.

A cat’s eyesight at night would be far better, for example.

However, rabbits’ eyes do have their own unique adaptations that make them special and perfect for their situation.

If out at night, a rabbit, or group of rabbits, will be more dependent on their sense of smell and hearing than on their sight.

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