Rabbits have very cute, round, big eyes.
Those adorable eyes tend to wander off at random times…
And often, rabbits would stare at us for long periods.
It makes you wonder what’s going on in their minds while they’re looking at you.
Are they judging you? Do they think your outfit looks great? Do they want a staring contest?
They say the eyes don’t lie… so let’s find out the true meaning behind the stares.
Read on to discover:
- 19 reasons why rabbits stare at you.
- When should this behavior alarm you.
- Why do rabbits have side-facing eyes.
- Whether rabbits can see in 360 or not.
- How rabbits sleep with their eyes open.
- And much much more…
Why does my rabbit stare at me?
Your rabbit stares at you because it’s most likely sleeping. Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open which can get mistaken for “staring”. They can also stare to ask for food or out of curiosity. They want to know more about you or watch what you’re doing. Their senses could also be tingling.
19 reasons why rabbit stares at you (the true meaning)
#1: They’re asleep
Rabbits have developed special eyelids that allow them to sleep with their eyes open.
This is why you’d think they’re staring at you…
But in reality, they’re actually sleeping.
Rabbits sleep with their eyes open as a way to survive in the wild.
They always have to be alert to see if predators are approaching.
You can tell if your rabbit is asleep by observing them.
Here are 5 signs to know for sure:
- Snoring and dreaming.
- Their nose stops twitching.
- Relaxed ears and muscles.
- Their breathing slows down.
- Laying down in a relaxed position.
Fun fact: Rabbits only blink approximately 10 to 12 times per hour, revealed by research. That’s very few compared to an average human that blinks 1,200 times per hour.
This adds to the reason why you’d rarely see your rabbit blink…
If your rabbit blinks or closes their eyes…
It’s a great sign that they trust you big time.
Note: Rabbits need about 8.4 hours of sleep per day. Rabbits are crepuscular animals. Meaning, they aren’t diurnal or nocturnal. They are more active at dusk or dawn. They will get their sleep during the afternoon or late in the evening.
#2: To assert their dominance
Rabbits can be dominant… especially male rabbits.
If your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, they can show this behavior more often.
In the wild…
Rabbits have a social ranking.
A study states that male rabbits try to improve their ranking in their colony.
They would engage in a staring contest…
Until one of them submits and grooms the “winner”.
So… your rabbit might be staring at you to assert their dominance.
They’re looking at you while thinking…
“This is my territory. If you’re going to be here… you better groom me.”
They can also be wondering what you’re doing in “their territory”.
Rabbits don’t like it when you move their things or make a mess in their place.
You might also want to know: 11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Rabbit Climbs On You
#3: They want to keep you safe
As social animals… rabbits learned to look out for one another.
This is why your rabbit might be staring at you.
They want to keep an eye on you to make sure you’re safe.
Being prey animals close to the bottom of the food chain…
Rabbits need to protect each other.
Staring at you would be their way of letting you know,
“I’m watching your back, so watch mine too”
It’s part of their natural instinct.
In fact… rabbits have lateral eyes a.k.a side-facing eyes for survival..
Research found that their eyes have evolved in a way that helps them see in an almost 360-degree vision.
This means that rabbits can see what’s above their heads too…
Making it difficult for predators to sneak up on them.
#4: They’re investigating their surroundings
Given their natural wide range of vision…
Rabbits only have a small blind spot.
There’s about 10 degrees of blind spot from a rabbit’s nose and under their chins.
With their amazing ability…
They can’t help but want to learn about their environment.
As prey animals, rabbits need to be careful.
If your rabbit is recently adopted…
They might act like fluffy little detectives.
Rabbits might freeze and hyper-focus in one spot.
They do this to take in all the information…
Their keen, gazing eyes are scanning every bit of detail.
This can include staring at their owners.
#5: They feel anxious
Rabbits are not a stranger to anxiety.
They can get highly anxious because of fear or stress.
Your rabbit could be staring at you out of anxiety.
This can happen if your rabbit is recently adopted…
In their eyes… you are still a stranger.
They’d stare at you to see if you would react… they might be thinking,
“What does this human plan to do with me? Should I get ready to run or hide?”
Even if you aren’t the cause of their anxiety…
Rabbits are very sensitive even to the slightest noise or unpleasant scents.
They can feel anxious because of their environment.
It can make them freeze on the spot.
They won’t make any movements…
Rabbits will only observe with caution.
Based on a study, an anxious rabbit will have a faster heart rate.
Here are 7 more signs to tell if your rabbit is anxious:
- Tense muscles.
- Faster nose twitching.
- Abnormal, rapid breathing.
- Flattened ears and posture.
- Bulging eyes or dilated pupils.
- Freezing and staring into the distance.
- Biting or showing aggression when handled.
Warning: If this behavior doesn’t stop, consult your vet to check if your rabbit needs help.
#6: They’re trying to communicate with you
Rabbits are quiet animals…
So they’ll communicate with you in silent ways.
For example… they’d try to run around you to get your attention.
They might also try to nudge your hand or feet to make you pet them.
Staring at you could be one of their ways of trying to communicate.
Most of the time…
They only want to convey their happiness to you.
“You’re here! I’m very happy to see you, so I’ll keep looking at you until you realize it.”
Rabbits may not even be aware that they’re staring at you.
They tend to space out while admiring something they like or someone they love.
Here are 5 more things your bunny might be trying to say while staring at you:
- They’re wondering what you’re up to.
- They want to get involved in what you’re doing.
- They want to get a better look at what you’re holding.
- They want you to get close to them and give them attention.
- They’re trying to understand what you plan to do with them next.
Check out also: 11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Rabbit Headbutts You
#7: They’re trying to identify you
Rabbits have a different vision from ours.
A study claims that rabbits have limited vision when it comes to colors.
This means that your rabbit can have a hard time recognizing you.
If you wear something that changes your shape in their eyes…
For example, a backpack or an oversized shirt or dress.
These things can confuse your rabbit.
So… your rabbit might be staring at you, wondering…
“You kinda look like my owner… but I’m not sure if you ARE my owner.”
They’d look at you very hard before they try to approach you.
Though bunnies can identify you by your scent…
You might be wearing perfume or have mixed scents on you.
Even if you can’t smell it… your rabbit can.
This will also make it difficult for them to identify you.
Your best way of letting your rabbit know you is through your voice.
#8: They’re excited and trying to calm down
Sometimes, your rabbit can have high energy levels.
They can get very excited or overjoyed because of many things.
Your presence alone is enough to make them very happy.
This can happen if you leave a lot… making your bunny miss you often.
They might run up to you while doing their binky out of excitement.
Then out of nowhere, they’ll stop, freeze, and stare at you while breathing fast.
This is a sign of them taking rests.
“Oh no, my heartbeat’s too fast. I should try to calm down for a bit.”
This could be what’s going on in their minds while staring at you.
You can tell if your bunny’s excited with these 7 signs:
- Rapid breathing.
- High energy runs.
- Running in circles.
- Faster nose twitching.
- They follow you everywhere.
- Digging then flopping to the side.
#9: They’re bored
Rabbits can also stare at you for no reason other than boredom.
Yes… a rabbit gets bored a lot.
They could be out of things to do.
They’re tired of playing with their toys or hopping around.
While thinking of what to do next…
Rabbits might space out and end up staring at you.
A lot of people do this too.
For humans, we all know this as, “getting lost in thoughts.”
Most of the time… the stares are unintentional.
If you wave your hand in front of your bunny’s eyes…
Try to check for a reaction to see if they snap out of their staring.
#10: They want your attention
Rabbits might stare at you to ask for attention.
Being social animals, they always crave interactions…
That’s why your bunny wants you to notice them.
They’d be looking at you like they’re saying…
“When are you going to pet me? Pay attention to me. Let’s play.”
They might get confused wondering if you’re ignoring them or not.
You will know if your rabbit is asking for attention by observing their body language.
If your rabbit is following you around and stops to stare at you…
That’s a sign of wanting your attention.
Observe the way your rabbit follows you.
If they’re hopping at a slow, relaxed pace while repeating this behavior…
They could be asking for some playtime and more attention.
#11: They’re annoyed
Staring can also be a sign of annoyance.
Only a few know this… but rabbits can have a “sassy attitude”.
It’s not sassy in a bad way… but more in a funny and adorable way.
The way rabbits can express their personality in silent ways is fascinating.
They’d stare at you with a judging look in their eyes as if to say…
“Why did you do that?” or “I don’t want to go back to my cage yet.”
You can think of this type of staring as “protesting”.
They can be stubborn sometimes…
So if you force them to do something they don’t like…
They might hop away from you then look back at you with that annoyed gaze.
You can tell if your rabbit’s annoyed with these 5 signs:
- Tense muscles.
- Grunting noises.
- Wagging their nail.
- Thumping their feet on the ground.
- Twitching their nose in an upward motion.
Sometimes… they can get annoyed by other factors too.
Here are 9 common things that can annoy your rabbit:
- Loud noises.
- Other animals.
- Unpleasant odors.
- Messy environment.
- Having nothing to do or boredom.
- Not having enough space in their “territory”.
- Being unable to go out and explore other places.
- Getting tired of eating the same food all the time.
“Should you tolerate or worry about this behavior?”
Most of the time… this behavior will settle down by itself.
If your rabbit is often annoyed…
Something could be bothering them.
If they’re always thumping their feet on the ground…
Your rabbit senses danger.
They thump the ground to alert other rabbits.
It happens when they sense the presence of a predator.
They can smell the predator’s scent from a mile away.
If your rabbit is showing signs of aggression such as biting…
It can be due to stress or hormonal changes.
Most rabbits reach maturity as early as 3 months old.
Take your bunny to the vet for spaying or neutering as soon as possible.
Note: Spaying and neutering is beneficial for rabbits. It removes the risk of reproductive cancers.
This can increase your rabbit’s lifespan. It also helps relieve their stress.
#12: They’re sick or in pain
Rabbits aren’t as vocal as other animals like dogs or cats.
In fact, based on a study…
Rabbits try to hide their pain to avoid the risk of getting targeted by predators.
Your rabbit might be staring at you because they’re ill.
They may not notice that they’re staring at you…
Because they’re trying hard not to show you their pain.
All their focus goes to acting like they’re fine.
“Act normal. Nothing’s wrong. I’m not sick.”
But they end up making you worry even more by their weird staring.
It’s their natural instinct as prey animals to hide their pain.
So… if you’re worried about your rabbit…
Here are 13 signs to watch out for:
- Dilated pupils.
- Tense muscles.
- Grunting noises.
- Lack of movement.
- Rapid nose twitching.
- Stiff, erect pointed ears.
- Mild teeth grinding noises.
- Abnormal, rapid breathing.
- Abnormal, shallow breathing.
- Staying in one spot all day long.
- Changes in their bowel movements.
Warning: If you suspect that your rabbit is sick or in pain, take them to the vet for immediate treatment.
Most rabbits will try their best to convince you that they’re fine…
This is part of their natural instinct.
This is why you have to pay close attention to their body language.
#13: They think you have treats
Rabbits have a strong sense of smell…
Making it difficult to hide food from them.
Research shows that rabbits rely on their sense of smell 99% of the time.
You might already know by now…
That rabbits have a sweet tooth.
If they can smell something sweet on you…
They’d stare at you to ask for treats.
“I know you’re hiding some treats… please share it with me”
If dogs have puppy eyes…
Rabbits have cute round, irresistible baby-like eyes.
They can learn that their stares can work like a kryptonite…
So they’ll take advantage of it whenever they get the chance.
Here are 7 common scents that will get your bunny to stare at you:
- Sweet foods.
- Vegetable greens.
- Sweet scented perfumes.
Even if you’re not carrying food…
Your rabbit still might think you’re hiding treats.
Rabbits are as smart as a 2 year old kid.
They can get used to patterns and memorize them.
If you give your bunny a treat every time you come home…
Your bunny will start remembering this pattern.
They’d sit and stare at you as if telling you…
“I know you’re about to give me a treat. So I’ll stare and wait here until you do.”
#14: They’re curious and interested in you
Rabbits are curious animals.
Thanks to their strong sense of smell and hearing…
Plus their amazing range of vision…
They are always investigating their surroundings.
Your rabbit is staring at you because they’re curious about you.
“What are you doing? What’s that in your hand? Are we going to play?”
They’re trying to figure out what’s going on…
And once again, they might end up spacing out.
You can tell if your bunny is curious about you in easy ways.
Here are 7 signs that your rabbit is curious:
- Relaxed muscles.
- Calm nose twitching.
- Hopping around at a gentle pace.
- Relaxed ears pointed towards you.
- Following you everywhere and staring.
- Approaching you to sniff you then stare at you.
- Turning their heads side to side to observe you.
You can capture your rabbit’s curiosity in many ways.
Even if you and your rabbit already know each other for a while…
A rabbit’s senses will always find something to wonder about.
#15: They heard something from a distance
Rabbits might stare at you because they’re on high alert mode.
This can happen when they hear something unusual…
To us, it might only be a faint sound…
But your rabbit can hear it very well.
They’ll be staring at you as if to ask you…
“Did you hear that sound? What was that? That’s scary”
According to research, rabbits have a hearing range of 360 hertz up to 42,000 hertz.
Their hearing is twice the amount of a human’s hearing range of 64 hertz to 23,000 hertz.
This explains why your rabbit can notice even the slightest sounds…
But as prey animals, they can get scared by those noises.
When they’re afraid…
Rabbits have a tendency to freeze out of fear.
Warning: Fear is dangerous for your bunny because it can lead to a heart attack.
They are faint-hearted animals…
So make sure they are away from loud noises that can scare their poor gentle hearts.
It’s easy to tell if your rabbit is afraid and staring at you out of fear.
Here are 5 signs that your rabbit is afraid of something:
- Tense muscles and dilated pupils.
- Thumping their feet on the ground.
- Rapid breathing and nose twitching.
- Standing on their hind legs to focus on listening.
- Staring at you to see how you’ll react to the sounds.
#16: They’re staring at something else
Rabbits can get attracted to many other things.
Something else might’ve caught your rabbit’s attention.
They might be staring at an object behind you instead of you.
Since rabbits have big round eyes…
It can be confusing to tell where they’re looking at.
It’s like that embarrassing feeling of waving back to someone in public…
But it turns out they weren’t waving at you in the first place.
Don’t worry, your rabbit won’t tell anyone.
#17: They feel relaxed with you
Sometimes… rabbits stare at you to show you they trust you.
If rabbits sleep while they’re around you…
It means they feel relaxed enough to be vulnerable around you.
They know you won’t do anything to harm them.
You can tell they’re relaxed if their breathing is calm.
In the wild…
Rabbits can’t afford to fall asleep in random places.
They always need to go home to their burrows or “hiding place”.
So if your rabbit falls asleep while staring at you…
It’s because your rabbit trusts you and feels comfortable with you.
#18: They’re asking for food
Rabbits also stare to ask for food.
It’s the same way when they ask for treats…
But… their staring can go on longer when it comes to more food.
Rabbits can be food-driven.
Despite their small bodies…
Some bunnies actually have big appetites.
You will know if your bunny is staring at you for food.
Here are 5 signs that your bunny is asking for food:
- Staring at you while sniffing the air.
- Standing on their hind legs while staring at you.
- They wiggle their nose so they can smell better.
- They keep leaving and coming back to stare at you.
- They stare at you while you’re eating your own food.
Nose wiggling is a big giveaway for your bunny.
Rabbits wiggle their nose to adjust their sense of smell…
So if you catch them wiggling their nose while staring at you…
Then you know that they’re doing it to ask for food.
You can watch this video to see how bunnies wiggle their nose:
#19: They love you
Sometimes… rabbits will stare at you for no reason other than they love you.
Rabbits can develop a strong, deep bond with their owners.
This is thanks to their natural social personality.
As social animals…
Rabbits can be full of love and affection.
Most of the time…
Rabbits in the wild will have a partner for life.
They will bond so close that they become inseparable.
Bonded pairs of bunnies can spend their whole day staring at each other…
After all, they have nothing else to do when they’re resting in the wild.
Staring at each other is their way of bonding and relaxing together.
The same thing can happen to bunnies and their owners.
Rabbits can watch you all day when they love you a lot.
Further reading: How to tell if your rabbit likes you?
People also ask:
What does it mean when a rabbit stares at you?
When a rabbit stares at you, it’s because they might be sleeping, curious, or asking for food. Rabbits will also stare at you out of boredom or because they like you a lot.
Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open to avoid predators in the wild.
They also have a very curious personality…
Which is why they’re always staring at you or other things to understand what’s happening.
They can also be food-driven…
Some of them know that staring at you with their baby-like eyes can earn them food.
Rabbits can space out and end up staring at you.
But most of the time… rabbits will also stare at you out of affection.
Why does my rabbit stare at me when he eats?
Your rabbit stares at you while they eat to keep a lookout. As prey animals, rabbits are vulnerable to attacks when they’re eating.
This means that predators are more likely to attack when rabbits are busy with food.
So… your rabbit might be staring at you to make sure they don’t get attacked.
Even if your rabbit trusts you…
Some rabbits can develop a dominant and territorial behavior.
This is more common in male rabbits if they’re not neutered.
They’ll stare at you to assert dominance, as if telling you…
“This is my food and my territory. I’m watching you so you better not touch it.”
Why does my rabbit sit and stare at me?
Your rabbit sits and stares at you because they feel relaxed with you. When a rabbit likes and trusts you, they want to be near you as much as possible.
It’s their way of “passing the time” without doing anything exhausting.
Think of it as their way of relaxing with you to show their affection…
Your rabbit only wants to sit and stare at you because they adore you.