A rabbit will play dead when they are frightened as they feel easily spooked so they assume everything as a threat and try to avoid the danger by playing dead. They have born with this kind of instinctive behavior. They lie on their back and remain still for a longer period of time and do not make any sound and become motionless. This is mostly done when they are being attacked by any predators like scavengers like foxes, coyotes, etc.
Sometimes it also happens when you assume your rabbit playing dead while they are sleeping also. So you need to differentiate while they are sleeping or playing dead. There are several factors behind playing dead by rabbits and in this article we are going to discuss each aspect of this nature.
- 1 Why does a rabbit play dead?
- 2 Do rabbits play dead when they are scared?
- 3 Do rabbits play dead when attacked by predators?
- 4 Do baby rabbits also play dead?
- 5 How long rabbits can play dead?
- 6 How to spot if the rabbit is playing or sleeping?
- 7 Is it normal behavior for a rabbit to play dead?
- 8 Different ways to stop the rabbit from playing dead
Why does a rabbit play dead?
There are several reasons the reason that why do rabbits play dead? Rabbits are very smart creatures and they exactly know how to grab one’s attention towards them. When rabbits feel that they are being ignored by their owners and people around them, they try to play dead only to attract attention towards them.
In such situations of grabbing attention, they sometimes pull the clothes of their owners so if you want to save your clothes from rabbit’s nails you should give them proper attention, cuddle, hug and make them feel happy. Another serious reason behind playing dead by the rabbits is to save themselves from the attack of any predator.
Do rabbits play dead when they are scared?
Yes, this could be one of the reasons behind playing dead by rabbits. It is the last trick or defense to save them by the rabbit when they are in danger. A rabbit tries to pretend dead by lying on the floor and does not make any kind of movement. Sometimes the reason behind their fear is from humans around them or even their owners. When you are going to pick your rabbit, she might get frightened and will not come to you.
Sometimes they play dead out of fear from grabbing them up from the ground and holding them in someone’s arms. If you notice your rabbit is trying to play dead, just put her back on the ground and do not disturb the pet.
Do rabbits play dead when attacked by predators?
Yes, this is one of the major reasons behind playing dead by any rabbit. But sometimes it is not good for rabbits to play dead if they suspect any kind of attack from predators as it will make them an easy target to be attacked by someone. Rather than playing dead, try to run to a safer place so they can save their lives. Also, rabbits are very tough to defeat when they attack sharply any creature.
They can use their claws to scratch and fight back when finding themselves in danger or also they can run very fast. Playing dead is not a good option to save them because they hope that the attacker will pass them by thinking they are dead but most of the predators are scavengers and they will not think twice to eat a dead rabbit.
Do baby rabbits also play dead?
Mostly rabbits play dead when they are aged and cannot fight back against attackers. But the question is whether baby rabbits also play dead? So the answer is yes they also play dead. This is the natural behavior that they receive from their mother. So in difficult situations, they also play dead sometimes as they are not experienced with such conditions as a noob. Despite fighting back they play dead which is easy for them at their age.
How long rabbits can play dead?
A rabbit can play dead for a few minutes or a few hours. Ten minutes is the maximum time that a rabbit can play dead. There are also several reasons why rabbits play dead even in a safer place like home. The rabbit may be scared of loud noises or excessive handling by owners and when they do not feel safe. So you have to create an environment for them that is stress-free for them and cheerful.
It is okay if your rabbit is not playing. Do not force the pet to get up and play. The only thing an owner can do is to provide them with a comfortable environment and a safer place. When the pet becomes familiar to you then it will love to play around you all the time and not play dead. Sometimes they also play dead to attract your attention towards them and pamper them.
How to spot if the rabbit is playing or sleeping?
It becomes sometimes tough to differentiate whether a rabbit is playing dead or sleeping. While sleeping, rabbits keep their eyes open most of the time which is called paradoxical sleep. Also, rabbits’ eyes are moist while they are sleeping and putting their legs upward in the air. Bit when the rabbit is tired and exhausted after playing they sleep with their eyes close which can make you feel as if the rabbit is sleeping or playing dead.
There is not much difference between sleeping and playing dead situations. When the rabbit is happy and relaxing after playing they sleep by clicking their teeth when in deep sleep but when the rabbit is playing dead they do not make any noise or muscular movement and stay still.
Is it normal behavior for a rabbit to play dead?
Yes, it is absolutely okay to play dead by rabbits. It is in their natural behavior and they do it when they are stressed, frightened, or being threatened. The play dead by lying still on the floor and does not make any muscular movement.
They think by playing dead they can reduce their stress in stressful conditions or deter their predators. But it is not okay if the rabbit is playing dead again and again. You should consider their problem and provide them with a stress-free environment and keep them happy. Sometimes rabbits pay dead to draw your attention and extra love towards them.
Different ways to stop the rabbit from playing dead
1. Provide a good environment:
You can provide a happy and stress-free environment to your rabbit by comforting them loving them, spending time with them, and giving cuddles to the pet. Give them water and food by yourself so in this way, they will remember you and become comfortable with them. So they will not play dead for seeking your attention and love.
2. Keep other animals away from rabbits:
A rabbit may feel scared or uncomfortable if other animals live with them or around them. So it is better to keep the rabbit away in a calm and separate place so they will be more comfortable and live happily.
3. Let him out of the cage for some time:
Keeping rabbits out o the cage for some time makes them happy because the area inside the cage is small and they can play freely outside in an open space. A happy rabbit will not play dead when it is in a safer place.
Playing dead is not a new thing for rabbits as it is in their behavior but as a pet owner, you must be careful about their needs and problems which make them play dead. Rabbits cannot communicate vocally so you have to take proper care of your pet.
Try to find their problems and solve them quickly. Playing dead is not a bad thing in the home but it may be dangerous when the rabbit is in a difficult situation as their predators will not pass by them by assuming that the rabbit is dead.