All rabbits will have their favorite spots. Mine like to pick two or three places as their napping spots and alternate between them. It’s similar to the way people always choose the same spot on the couch to relax or sleep on the same side of the bed every night. However, if your rabbit chooses a spot and just sits there without moving around much, it can be a sign that something is wrong (depending on the specific circumstances).
When a rabbit chooses to sit in one spot it usually means that either your rabbit is sleeping or they’re not feeling well. It’s also common for rabbits to sit around a lot when they are elderly, or when they are feeling frightened.
By understanding the circumstances surrounding the behavior, you can determine if your rabbit is sick and needs to be brought to the vet, or if they just need a change in their schedule or environment to help them get more exercise.
- Learn more about how you can encourage your rabbit to get more exercise
1. Rabbits will snooze in the middle of the day
The first thing to understand is that rabbits don’t follow the same daily rhythm as humans. Humans are diurnal, which means we are active during the day and sleep at night. On the other hand, rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are most active around dawn and dusk but sleep in the middle of the day and the middle of the night.
So if your rabbit is sitting in one place whenever you let them out of their enclosure to explore, the first thing to do is look at the time of day. If it’s the middle of the day (anywhere from about 11 am to about 5 pm), it’s quite normal for the rabbit to go and find a good place to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. They’ll end up sitting in one place all afternoon because they are sleepy. If you want to encourage your rabbit to get more exercise, try letting them explore at different times of the day.
You may not realize your rabbit is sleeping because they can sleep with their eyes open. They also don’t always lay down when they sleep and may be sitting in what I call a ‘loaf’ position (because of how it resembles a loaf of bread.
2. Rabbits are not endurance animals
Another aspect of rabbit behavior that you should be aware of is that rabbits will not be active for long periods of time. I always say rabbits are like sprinters, not long-distance runners.
By this I mean that it’s quite common for rabbits to have short periods where they are active and exploring, followed by longer periods of time where they are resting. This may make it seem like your rabbit is sitting around a lot when really it’s just the normal rhythm of rabbit activity.
3. Rabbits who don’t feel well will prefer to sit in one spot
Maybe this is not an everyday occurrence, but instead, you’re worried because your rabbit is just sitting around more than usual right now. It’s possible that your rabbit is just relaxing a bit more today, but it’s also possible that this is a sign that your rabbit doesn’t feel well.
The easiest way to test if your rabbit is feeling well is by testing their appetite. Offer them a small piece of their favorite treat. If they are excited and immediately eat the treat, your rabbit is probably fine. If they refuse the treat, your rabbit may have gas, GI stasis (learn more), or some other illness and should be brought to a veterinarian specializing in rabbits or small animals.
If your rabbit did not eat or poop at all for the last 10 hours, get them to the vet immediately. This is an emergency situation.
These are some common behaviors you might see in rabbits that are not feeling well:
- A change in eating habits
- A change in poop (too small, too sticky, etc.)
- A change in urinating habits (suddenly not using the litter box anymore)
- Sitting in a hunched position
- A change in usual energy levels
- Very hot or very cold ears
- Loss of balance
- Snotty nose
- Enlarged stomach
- More aggressive than usual
- Balding or excessive scratching
4. Older rabbits will sit around more
Like people, elderly rabbits will have a lot less energy than younger ones. It depends on the breed of rabbit, but generally by the time a rabbit is 8 years old, they will start to slow down and sit around a lot more. This is totally normal and it’s an expected part of living with an aging rabbit.
Even middle-aged and young adult rabbits will have considerably less energy than their younger counterparts. For most rabbits, their baby energy will last until around 2 or 3 years old, after which they will relax and sit around a little more.
5. Rabbits who are frightened will find a safe spot to sit
It’s pretty standard for new rabbits who were recently brought home to find a place to sit and hide because they are scared. If you just got a rabbit and are wondering why they won’t come out and play or explore, this is probably the reason. Give your rabbit some time and space to come out of their shell, and they start to be more active too.
6. Rabbits who are depressed won’t move around as much
A rabbit who gets depressed is likely to sit around all the time because they have lost interest in the world around them. They won’t be all that interested in toys or socializing. Instead, they’ll spend their day sitting in the same place, doing nothing. They often choose to stay put even when their enclosure door is open. In general, the rabbit will become more and more withdrawn and closed off from the world around them.
In general, rabbits get depressed because they are either lonely or bored. Like humans, rabbits are social animals, which means they need a lot of attention every day. In the wild, they live with a group of other rabbits where they have almost constant interaction with others. This means that if your rabbit lives alone with other rabbits, you will need to give them lots of attention. If rabbits don’t get enough social interaction, they are likely to become withdrawn and start sitting around when they could be exploring.
7. Rabbits who are feeling a little hot will move around less
You also want to take the temperature into account. Most rabbits prefer temperatures in the 60ºF to 70ºF range or lower (15-20ºC). When the house or rabbit habitat is warmer than this, it’s normal for rabbits to respond by having lower levels of energy.
Every year, I notice my rabbits have a noticeable increase in activity levels when the temperatures begin to fall. I generally keep my house at 72-74ºF in summer to save on electricity, so my rabbits are ecstatic when the temperature finally drops into the 60s
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Recommended Products and Brands
Important: These are Affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.
The two brands that I use when buying food for my rabbit are Oxbow and Small Pet Select. These both have high quality rabbit products and are companies that care about the health of our small animals. If you are purchasing anything from Small Pet Select use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout to get 15% off your first order.
- Hay: Second Cutting Timothy Hay from Small Pet Select
- Pellets: Oxbow Garden Select Food for Rabbits
- Treats: Oxbow Simple Rewards
- Toys: Small Pet Select Natural Toys
- Enclosure/cage: A rabbit exercise pen
- Rabbit carrier: SleepyPod Mobile Pet Bed