Why Is My Rabbit Hiding? (Under Sofa, Bed, And in Corners)

Have you ever wondered why your rabbit insists on hunkering down under the sofa for hours or squeezing themselves into tiny boxes when they have a perfectly fine enclosure? Does it seem odd that an animal with a spacious indoor pen would prefer to hunker down in the darkness underneath your bed? While this behavior may seem perplexing, the reason behind your rabbit’s desire to hide away actually stems from their natural instincts as prey animals. Join us today as we dive deep into the rabbit psyche and unravel the mysteries behind why domestic rabbits still feel an innate urge to conceal themselves in the tightest, darkest spaces they can fit their furry bodies into! We’ll explore the science and psychology behind rabbits’ hiding behaviors so you can understand your pet’s actions and make sure their environment supports their secretive natures. Get ready to look at your home from a rabbit’s perspective!

Why Do Rabbits Like To Hide?

Rabbits are prey animals, which means they are hunted by other animals in the wild. This gives them a natural instinct to seek out hiding spots in order to feel safe and avoid detection by predators. In the wild, rabbits will dig burrows underground or hide in thick bushes and dense vegetation to keep themselves concealed. They are able to remain very still and quiet in their hiding spots for long periods of time when they feel threatened. This behavior is hardwired into a rabbit's biology.

Domestic rabbits retain this instinctual need to have access to hiding spaces in order to feel secure in their environment, even when living indoors as pets. Hiding gives them a sense of safety and privacy when they feel the need to retreat and get away from perceived dangers. A rabbit may often seek out small, enclosed spaces that make them feel cocooned and hidden from view. Under the sofa, behind furniture, or underneath the bed are common hiding spots for pet rabbits. Inside their hideaways, rabbits feel comforted and reassured, allowing them to relax. The act of hiding is calming and self-soothing for a prey animal like a rabbit.

In addition to providing security, hiding also allows rabbits a bit of independence. In the wild, rabbits are not social animals and do not live together in colonies or packs. They are solitary creatures that only pair up to mate. Therefore, pet rabbits are not always seeking human interaction or attention. They need alone time and hiding gives them the space to have time to themselves, separated from human hands that may want to pick them up or pet them. Rabbits appreciate having agency over their environment and choosing when and where to spend their time. A good hiding spot allows them retreat and have some alone time.

Overall, hiding is very natural rabbit behavior due to both their biology and their independent personalities. Pet owners should recognize that their rabbit hiding is not a reflection on the human/rabbit bond or the quality of care being provided. It is simply in the rabbit's nature to periodically seek out a hidden nook to feel safe and enjoy some solitude. Providing spaces for a rabbit to hide is respectful of their needs and can help them feel more relaxed and secure in a human home.

Where Do Rabbits Hide?

Pet rabbits have some favorite spots they like to tuck themselves into when they are seeking privacy and security. Here are some of the most common hiding places:

Under sofas or other furniture: The space underneath a sofa is a top choice for many rabbits. The small, enclosed space with just one entrance gives them a sense of safety. The darkness helps make them feel concealed. They may stash toys and food under there as well to create a comfortable retreat.

Behind furniture or appliances: By pressing themselves against the wall behind a large piece of furniture or appliance like the refrigerator, rabbits feel safely out of sight. The narrow gap feels like both a protective barrier and an escape route.

Under beds: Crawling under the bed allows rabbits to be completely hidden below the hanging bedskirts. The underside of the box spring above them mimics the enclosed, cave-like space a rabbit burrow would have in the wild. They can sprawl out without being seen.

Inside open cardboard boxes: If the opening is large enough for them to duck inside, rabbits often enjoy hiding out in cardboard boxes, especially ones on their sides. The enclosure helps them feel concealed and cozy.

Inside cat/dog crates or carriers: Some rabbits will voluntarily retreat into a cat carrier with an open door or small dog crate to get some alone time. The confined space offers them privacy.

Inside closets: In a spacious closet with the door ajar, rabbits may build a nest out of stray clothes or fabric to hide themselves away in dim seclusion.

Behind shower curtains or linens: Pushing behind hanging shower curtains or buried under a pile of folded linens can give rabbits the darkness and barriers they seek when hiding.

In wardrobes and cabinets: If household cabinets or wardrobes are rabbit-safe with no hazardous materials stored inside, rabbits may climb in to hide amid the stored contents.

Under blankets: Curling up beneath a blanket or fabric barrier makes rabbits feel safely tucked away and impervious to watching eyes.

In litter boxes: Some rabbits will squeeze themselves into covered litter boxes or partially buried boxes to feel obscured and enclosed.

As prey animals, rabbits have an instinct to conceal themselves from harm in any small, dark space they can fit themselves into. They will explore and become acquainted with potential hiding spots around your home that make them feel protected from perceived danger. Any enclosed areas that offer privacy and security can become rabbit hideouts.

Why Is My Rabbit Constantly Hiding?

While some hiding behavior is perfectly normal for a prey animal like a rabbit, excessive hiding can be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Here are some reasons why your rabbit may be constantly hiding:

Fear and anxiety: If your rabbit is fearful due to stressors in the environment or negative experiences, they may compulsively hide to cope. Triggers like loud noises, household chaos, or perceived threats can promote hiding.

Illness or pain: Discomfort from an illness or injury causes rabbits stress. They retreat to their hideouts to avoid interaction and rest in privacy.

Loneliness: Rabbits are social and form close bonds with companions. A lonely single rabbit may hide due to depression. Lack of social stimulation and play can increase hiding.

Boredom: Inadequate mental stimulation and lack of enrichment in the environment can cause boredom. With nothing engaging to do, rabbits simply hide away.

Invasion of space: Rabbits desire their own private secure areas. Too much petting or forced interaction when they prefer to be alone can drive them to hide.

Unsuitable environment: If the rabbit's living space has little opportunity for hiding, open exposures, loud noise, or stressors, hiding may become their coping strategy.

Change in environment: Re-arranging furniture, introducing new pets, or sudden changes to their enclosure can make rabbits feel insecure, driving them to hide more.

Lack of proper socialization: Rabbits who were improperly socialized as youngsters may see interactions as frightening, and compulsively hide.

Trauma: Previous negative experiences like loud sounds, pain, abuse, neglect, or attacks from predators can create ongoing trauma that manifests in chronic hiding due to fear.

If your rabbit has suddenly started spending the majority of their time hiding and avoiding interaction, some factor is very likely causing them significant stress, fear, or anxiety. It is important to identify and address the underlying issue through appropriate means like providing stable companionship, enrichment activities, designated hiding spaces, rabbit-proofing for safety, positive reinforcement training, and creating an environment suited to their needs. In some cases, medication prescribed by a rabbit-savvy vet may be helpful for easing anxiety as well. Consistently hiding is a clear sign that a rabbit does not feel safe, secure and content in their current environment.

Why Does My Rabbit Keep Hiding?

There are some common reasons why your rabbit may have started suddenly and persistently hiding in their favorite spots:

  • You rearranged the furniture or cleaned their living space. Rabbits like consistency in their environment. Changes can make them feel insecure and drive them to hide. Maintain their space the same way as much as possible.

  • There are new stressors in the home, like a new pet, visiting guests, loud construction noise, unusual smells, or smoke. These can frighten them and cause them to hide. Try to minimize stressors and allow time to adjust.

  • Their companion rabbit passed away, leaving them lonely and depressed. Rabbits do better in pairs. Consider adopting them a new friend after the mourning period ends.

  • Pain from an injury or illness makes them feel vulnerable, so they hide. Have them medically examined for any condition making them uncomfortable.

  • Lack of spaying/neutering causes territorial behaviors prompting hiding. Getting them fixed often reduces these tendencies.

  • You are interacting with them more than they want. Solitary rabbits need private time. Let them have space when desired.

  • A traumatic event like a loud noise, fast motion, or attack has frightened them. Time, patience and positive associations can help counteract the trauma.

  • Their environment is too exposed and open, without hiding spots. Provide enclosures, boxes, tunnels and other hideaways.

  • There is insufficient enrichment. Bored rabbits will hide away. Offer more playtime, toys, exploration opportunities outside the cage.

  • Neglect from previous owners has made them fearful of humans. Bonding exercises and treat offerings build trust over time.

  • They were improperly socialized young. Spending abundant time with them and proving you are safe can improve sociability long-term.

  • They are completely new to your home. It takes days to weeks for new rabbits to feel secure. Be patient and let them adjust on their own timeline.

Usually persistent hiding indicates an underlying problem making the rabbit feel unsafe and insecure. Identifying and resolving the issue, while also respecting their need for private time, will help reduce excessive hiding.

Why Is My Rabbit Hiding From Me?

There are some possible reasons your rabbit is specifically hiding from you:

  • You may be interacting with them more than they want. Rabbits need lots of alone time. Let them have periods of undisturbed privacy.

  • Your movements and noises frighten them, especially if they were never properly socialized. Slow movements and quiet voices will seem less threatening.

  • They associate you with a previous negative experience like nail trims. Rebuild trust through positive reinforcement.

  • New behaviors like suddenly lifting them up may seem scary. Stick to predictable routines they are accustomed to.

  • They are bored with you. Try engaging them in new games and activities to rebuild interest.

  • Your scent has changed due to diet, medication, pregnancy, or new home. Give time for them to adjust to the new smells.

  • They dislike being held. Rabbits often prefer to interact on their own terms. Let them come to you instead of picking them up.

  • You have been away on a trip. They need time to re-bond with you after absences.

  • A traumatic event occurred while you were present. Patience and positive reinforcement will help counteract fearful associations.

  • You recently disturbed their environment with cleaning or rearrangements. Consistency is key for a rabbit feeling secure.

While sometimes disheartening for owners, hiding specifically from you is not a sign of dislike. Rabbits are simply very easily startled and anxious creatures as prey animals. With time, consistency and respect, they will learn to trust you and seek your company, even if they still require private time too.

My Rabbit Is Hiding And Not Eating

If your rabbit is hiding in their enclosure and refusing to eat, there are some potential causes:

  • Dental pain from overgrown teeth or sharp points makes eating uncomfortable. Schedule a checkup to rule out dental issues.

  • GI stasis is slowing digestion, causing nausea. This requires prompt veterinary attention for gut motility drugs to restore appetite.

  • Stress, fear or depression has diminished their appetite. Monitor them for normal fecal production. Encourage eating by offering favorite foods.

  • A respiratory infection makes eating uncomfortable. Listen for congestion and treat with antibiotics from your vet if needed.

  • Heat stress in warm weather reduces appetite. Make sure their space has shade, airflow and water for cooling down.

  • Cold stress in winter weather suppresses appetite. Ensure their enclosure is warm enough as rabbits cannot thermoregulate.

  • Bullying from a bonded partner is preventing access to the food dish. Separate the pair temporarily and monitor for injuries.

  • They are fasting due to upcoming veterinary testing and need encouragement to eat. Tempt with fresh herbs and leafy greens.

  • Dirty litterbox or spoiled food is causing them to avoid the dish. Clean the cage thoroughly and replace food and litter.

  • Their pellets or hay are past prime freshness. Toss old food and offer a freshly opened bag.

  • Pain from an injury or abscess in their mouth hampers eating. Have your vet examine their jaw, teeth and palate.

If refusal to eat continues past 12 hours, seek veterinary assistance, as rabbits can develop dangerous enteritis and go into GI stasis if not eating. Getting your rabbit immediate attention maximizes the chances of getting them back on track to normal eating habits.

My New Rabbit Is Hiding

It's very common for a new rabbit in a new home to spend most of their time hiding during the initial adjustment phase. Here are some tips for handling a hiding new rabbit:

  • Allow at least 1-2 weeks for adjustment before expecting them to fully settle in. Be very patient.

  • Visit them quietly and drop treats nearby, but don't force them to come out. Let them remain in their safe space.

  • Sit nearby and read out loud or talk softly so they grow accustomed to your voice and presence.

  • Avoid sudden movements and loud noises that could frighten them. Be calm and quiet around them.

  • Let them explore the new environment at night first when it's quiet before giving them free range time.

  • Place some worn clothing with your scent inside the enclosure for them to snuggle with for comfort.

  • Set up hiding boxes and tunnels so they have many options for feeling secure while exploring.

  • Move slowly when cleaning their space and stay predictable in your schedule and routine.

  • Avoid overwhelming them with too many new experiences too quickly. Let them dictate the pace of socialization.

  • Check that they are eating, drinking and passing stool normally, even if not being very social yet.

  • If they are extremely fearful, consult a rabbit-savvy vet about anti-anxiety medication to help ease the transition.

With time, patience and letting the rabbit take the lead on feeling secure in their new home, most hiding behaviors will gradually diminish as they gain confidence and bond with you.

Are Rabbit Hides Important?

Yes, providing hiding spaces is very important for a rabbit's health and wellbeing:

  • Hiding spots allow rabbits to feel safe and secure, lowering their overall stress and anxiety levels. This supports a healthy nervous system.

  • Access to hiding places gives rabbits a sense of control over their environment, which is positive for their mental health.

  • When fearful, hiding helps lower heart rate and blood pressure by allowing rabbits to escape perceived threats.

  • The ability to retreat to a safe, concealed spot helps timid rabbits avoid panicking and thumping when startled.

  • Hiding spaces provide an enclosed area where rabbits can comfortably nap and get quality rest.

  • The darkness and enclosure of hides offers rabbits relief from sensory overload and overstimulation.

  • Hiding spots give rabbits an area they can comfortably eat and groom themselves without scrutiny.

  • Access to hiding spaces helps prevent destructive chewing behaviors resulting from stress.

  • Hidden corners allow rabbits respite from human interaction when they prefer solitary time.

  • Safe hiding spots empower rabbits to feel independent and make choices about their environment.

  • The ability to hide and evade is integral to a prey animal's psychology and natural defenses.

Because feeling secure is a primal need for rabbits, providing appropriate hideouts and shelters is just as important to their care as proper diet, housing, and veterinary attention. Hides are not just optional accessories – they are essential elements for any rabbit habitat.


A rabbit's tendency to seek out hidden, enclosed spaces is hardwired into their nature as prey animals. Even domesticated rabbits retain this instinctual need to have access to hiding spots in order to feel safe and secure. As rabbit owners and caretakers, it's important we understand this natural behavior and accommodate a rabbit's desire for retreat and solitude. While sometimes puzzling or worrying at first, hiding is not cause for concern provided your rabbit has suitable places to hide, and continues to eat, exercise, and socialize normally. With time and patience, most hiding behaviors can be kept within reasonable limits. Ensuring your pet rabbit has plenty of opportunities to indulge this innate urge will help them become more confident and content in your home.

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