Do Rabbits Blink? | Do They Have Eyelids?

Rabbits blink their eyes and you may be wondering about it. They do not do it often, so we hardly catch their blinking phenomenon. Rabbits have to keep their eyes lubricated to keep them away from dryness.

They blink 12 times per hour which is less if we compare it with humans. They keep a membrane called rabbit third eyelid due to which they do not require blinking as frequently. 

Rabbit’s third eyelid membrane is called a nictitating membrane that blocks dust from entering the eyes. 

Do Rabbits Have Eyelids?

Rabbits do have eyelids, in fact, they are three in total. You can see the eyelids that are above their eyes. The third eyelid is known as the nictitating eyelid that cannot be observed with human naked eyes. Due to this invisible eyelid, we are unable to examine our rabbit blinking. This nictitating membrane helps rabbits to keep their eyes open for a long time. In this way, they can keep an eye on what is happening in the surroundings. 

Ability to keep an eye open while sleeping, gives the predator a sign that the rabbit is awake. Therefore, they will think before attacking. 

Do Rabbits Blink Their Eyes?

Do Rabbits Blink Their Eyes
Yes rabbits blink their eyes

Yes, rabbits can blink their eyes but not frequently as a human being does. In an hour, they blink their eyes at a maximum of 10-12 times. The nictitating membrane usually shuts and opens several times, so there is no need to close the outer eyelid. If you catch a rabbit blinking his eyes continuously, there will be a problem. Maybe dust particles get into his eyes while running and playing. Rabbits may get temporary irritation in their eyes. Carefully observe their eyes if you find something odd. Do not point the torch directly into the rabbit’s eyes. They are sensitive to sharp lights. 

Do Rabbits Sleep With Open Eyes?

Normally, the rabbits sleep with full widely open eyes. Their exterior eyelids do not close while sleeping. The nictitating membrane works as a safety shield for them. Rabbits sleep with open eyes, but at the same time, they remain alert. This sort of rest is called paradoxical sleep. Give a comfy environment to your rabbit, and avoid making loud noises around them during their sleep. 

How To Predict Whether A Rabbit Is Sleeping Or Not?

Here are a few noticeable signs that your rabbit is sleeping while its eyes are open.

  • Rabbits use their nose for sniffing.  The first sign the rabbit is sleeping is to watch his nose. While they are awake, you will figure out that their nose is constantly moving. If it’s completely steady then the rabbit is enjoying sleeping. 
  • Rabbits drop their ears while sleeping. This suggests that he is enjoying a deep sleep. 
  • Check if your rabbit is snoring, or known as purring. This represents that he is relaxed and peaceful. 

When Bunnies Close Their Eyes?

Bunnies seldom close their eyes. Their eyes are observant of the surroundings to prevent risks. There are some times when bunnies close their eyes. Do not panic! The below-mentioned situations could be a reason behind shutting down their outer eyelid.  

  • When a bunny feels their environment protected, they close their eyes. 
  • If the rabbit is tired and goes into an intense sleep.
  • When they enjoy petting with the owner, they feel comfortable and shut the outer eyelid.
  • Bunnies close their eyes when it’s time for grooming. 
  • Another underlying reason for closing eyes could be any medical health-related problem. To detect such medical issues, proper consultation with the vet is necessary. 

Baby Rabbit Blinking

Baby Rabbit Blinking
Yes baby rabbits can blinking

Baby bunnies can blink their eyes as adult rabbits do. When a baby rabbit is born, he is incapable of opening his eyes for almost the first ten days. Baby bunny opens his eyes slowly with time. The moment they start seeing around themselves, their eyes also start blinking at regular intervals from five to six minutes. 

Eye Problems In The Rabbits

Even they blink their eyes episodically, but still an important part of their living. The problem with the rabbit’s third eyelid is a genuine condition to consider. Rabbit’s eye health should be a priority. The rabbit’s third eyelid works continuously and is the most crucial within the other two eyelids. It works relentlessly and can expose many eye problems in rabbits. 

  • Eye Irritation

Body inflammation or irritation is common among animals as well. Even a rabbit’s nictitating membrane can get inflamed and infected. Due to inflammation or irritation, the rabbit’s will eye becomes red, puffy, and full of tears. If this condition occurs, consult with the vet as soon as possible.

  • Presence of cysts

Cysts are common among rabbits. Bunnies can develop one or more cysts on their third eyelid. To treat the cysts, your pet will need surgical treatment recommended by the vet. 

  • Injury

An encounter of the third eyelid with any sharp object could lead to an eye injury. Possible conditions are that the eyelid may be damaged or misplaced. 

When it comes to the rabbit’s eyes, self-medication is not recommended. They need to visit professional healthcare of animals. You need to examine the root cause and request suitable treatment. 


Rabbits blink their eyelids five to six minutes apart. They do not need excessive blinking because they have to be wide-awake all the time. Even they sleep with their eyes open. They have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane, which helps to protect their eyes from dust particles and prevents extra blinking.  

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