Do Rabbits Play Dead?

Rabbits get scared easily. Yes, sometimes rabbits play dead whenever they sense any danger around. You might have realized that your pet takes everything as a threat. The tiny creature can get frightened without any apparent reason. Also, when the bunny feels scared, it does everything to protect itself from danger. Your non-human friend can play dead as well.

do rabbits play dead

Your might notice such behavior when your non-human friend is terrified. Yes, you will find your bunny lying on its back without any motion. It might be scary for you and any new pet owner.

However, your rabbit is playing dead. Rabbits use this natural defense to protect themselves from dangers. It is a sign of fear, and you should create a protective environment to inspire your bunny to behave naturally, instead of playing dead.

Do rabbits play dead? Yes, your bunny might play dead on different occasions. Sometimes, you feel that your pet is acting motionless. However, the bunny might be sleeping. With careful observation, you can notice the difference. A scared rabbit will not make any sound and movement.


Some rabbits play dead for a few seconds to ten minutes. If you know that the rabbit is scared and playing dead, you should create a favorable environment for your pet. You need to reassure that you are there and your pet is safe in your presence. You can also offer your friend a treat.

However, you do not need to force your pet to get up and play. If the rabbit is scared, it might need more time to feel safe again. Whilst your rabbit is playing dead, wait until your pet comes out of its fear.

Once your pet feels secure, it will stop playing dead and will start playing again. That feeling will not continue for a long time. Therefore, you do not need to be scared and visit your vet.


rabbit playing dead

Yes, your rabbit might be playing dead when it suspects the presence of predators. However, it is rare. Bunnies are born with a great fight instinct. They will not play dead when the predators are around. Instead, they will prepare themselves for the danger.

They know that if they sleep motionless, the predator can attack them effortlessly. Therefore, they will face it instead of playing dead.

Even if these creatures are tiny and frail, they will not be easy targets. They will fight for their lives till the end. Your rabbit will stand on its hind legs and might use the claws during the fight. If the predator is far from them, they will try to run instead of playing dead.

These tiny creatures can move around 30 mph when some danger is present. Also, they are confident that they can run faster than their predators and protect their lives. As found, rabbits will do their best to protect themselves from both unknown and known dangers.

In rare conditions, rabbits might be so desperate and cannot run and fight. With this situation, you’ll see your rabbit plays dead. However, they will find an isolated and secure place to play motionless. But this act does not save them from predators.

Their predators are scavengers, and they do not think twice while eating a dead rabbit. Also, rabbits know this and try their best to protect themselves instead of acting lifeless.


Yes, your pet rabbit can pretend to be dead when scared. Rabbits use this natural defense when they notice some terror in their surroundings. When they sense any danger, they will try to run. When they do not find any way to run, they will act dead.

Yes, they will sleep on their backs and will not move their muscles. You might find them on their sides as well. However, they will stay motionless to create the impression of death.

If you see your pet acting dead, you should not bother it much. You might find that all its four paws are on the ground, and the rabbit is completely motionless. You might want to reassure your pet. However, you should not hold your rabbit. It might cause more fear.

Instead, you will have to give your rabbit time to feel safe again. Your presence will create a sense of security in your rabbit. You can make some soft noise and try to divert the thought of your pet.

Your pet will not play dead for more than a few seconds unless some apparent cause is present. During this period, you should not hold or touch your rabbit. Any action will scare your rabbit more. Therefore, you will have to observe your pet silently. But, you will have to avoid active involvement when he or she’s scared.


Why do rabbits play dead after exercise? There are many reasons behind such behavior. Your pet might have developed this habit. Yes, some bunnies like to relax and sleep after practicing exercise. You might have noticed that your pet suddenly pretends to be dead.

The rabbit might be active and energetic. It might be playing and running. All of a sudden, it will drop to the ground and acts dead and motionless.

What is happening? Nothing, your tiny pet is doing fine. However, it might be scared a little. Also, you might expect this act when your rabbit is a bit exhausted after covering a long distance.

Furthermore, the rabbit might have seen a bird or even an airplane while playing. All these things might have created fear in the mind of your rabbit. Therefore, it is pretending to be dead.

There is also a possibility that your rabbit is flopping. You might notice this behavior when the rabbit is exhausted. When tired, rabbits can deep sleep on the spot. You will find this more in young rabbits.

Flopping might be a bit scary for new pet owners. You will be scared when your pet will drop like a stone and plays dead. Also, the eyes will be closed. You might get the impression of a heart attack.

However, you do not need to be frightened. Also, you do not need to disturb your pet. The tiny creature is exhausted and needs a deep sleep. Allow your rabbit to get the much-needed rest.

You can take your rabbit to its bed and leave it alone to sleep peacefully. When your pet wakes up naturally after a few hours, it will be active and energetic again.


Sometimes, it might be hard to know if your rabbit is playing dead or sleeping. Also, rabbits enjoy their paradoxical sleep. In most conditions, rabbits sleep with their eyes open. It is called paradoxical sleep. However, rabbits have a third eyelid, and that keeps their eyes moist while sleeping.

When rabbits are completely tired, they will sleep with closed eyes. You might feel that they are dead. However, they will be sleeping. Relaxed bunnies will be lying on their back, and their legs will be in the air.

You will not find much difference between a tranced rabbit and a sleeping rabbit.

However, happy and relaxed rabbits will be clicking their teeth whilst deep sleeping. It is an indication that your pet is content and sleeping. But, when rabbits pretend to be dead, they will not make any sound and stay still.

In addition to these signs, you can look for any twitches on the face and body of your rabbit A rabbit playing dead will remain still like a statute. They do it consciously to deceive others. However, sleeping rabbits will jerk and twitch during sleep. While dreaming, they might run as well.


You should not be confused between flopping and playing dead. You need to understand the differences to know what is going on. The position of pretending dead and flopping will be mostly similar.

As stated earlier, your pet will be on its side or back while flopping. Also, the legs will be in the air. You can also notice some movements. However, when your rabbit is pretending to be dead, there will be no movement in the body. Also, they will not be any noises.


Yes, a baby rabbit can also play dead. This behavior is natural in bunnies regardless of age group. When it comes to baby rabbits, most baby rabbits receive it from their mothers. They get some self-defense tricks from their mothers and apply them to their day-to-day lives.

Like older rabbits, baby rabbits play dead when they’re scared or in a vulnerable position. Also, baby rabbits get scared easily. New experiences, loud noises, and other pets can be terrifying for a baby rabbit. However, you will have to deal with a baby rabbit differently.

Baby rabbits might not be pretending to be dead. Instead, they might be having some other issues. You can take your little rabbit up and wrap it in a blanket. When it starts to move, you can keep it in its nest.


Your pet rabbit plays dead on different occasions mainly as a defense mechanism. All the rabbits can pretend to be dead. Your rabbit pretends to play dead when scared, and will stop when the perceived danger is not around. They will soon feel safe again and start running.

Rabbits act dead for a few seconds to a few minutes based on the impact of the perceived danger.