Have you ever wondered whether animals sleep like us? Well, as you may suspect the answer is a resounding no! Okay, some do, but for the most part animals are quite unique in their sleeping habits. From bears and whales to frogs and rodents these are 25 Weird Ways Animals Sleep!
Dolphins and whales sleep with only one half of their brain at a time. This prevents them from drowning in their sleep.
Bats can sleep up to 20 hours per day! They also sleep upside down because it's easier for them to take off from that position. (Their wings are rather weak.)
Some animals (like rodents) can sleep for half the year! It's called hibernation and allows the animal to survive through periods of cold or insufficient food.
Since sharks have to keep moving in order to get oxygen through their gills, scientists believe that most species may be able to put their brains to sleep but continue swimming.
Scientists have hypothesized that white sharks face the current while sleeping. This way water flows into their gills with no effort from the shark itself.
Walruses inflate something called a pharyngeal pouch which keeps them afloat while they sleep.
In order to be ready for predators, Guinea baboons sleep on the tops of trees on their heels, always ready to sprint.
Just as some animals hibernate during winter, there are other animals that hibernate during summer to escape the heat! It's called estivation. Animals that sleep this way are typically amphibians and reptiles.
Most animals undergo polyphasic sleep (multiple sleep sessions). Humans are rather unique in their monophasic sleep cycle (one sleep session in 24 hours).
Some desert snails can sleep for years! An Egyptian desert snail was once assumed dead and placed in a museum. Four years later, it popped out of its shell and crawled away!
Frogs undergo a particularly intense form of hibernation. While most of their body freezes and their lungs even stop breathing, high concentrations of glucose in their vital organs prevent the essential parts from freezing.
Giraffes can go weeks without sleep. Scientists think that since they are so large and slow, not sleeping helps them keep an eye out for predators. On average though, they get about 20 minutes per day!
Ironically enough, when an animal wakes from hibernation, it shows many signs of sleep deprivation and has to sleep a lot over the next few days to recover!
Chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas have sleeping habits that are very similar to humans. They make beds in safe, predator-free places and curl up!
In 2008, researchers found that sperm whales sleep while bobbing vertically near the surface of the water. Unlike their whale cousins, there is no evidence that they engage in "half brain" sleep. In fact, sperm whales seem to have several short periods of "full brain" sleep where they don't even breathe.
Some birds can sleep while perched on a branch. They simply close their talons around the branch and stay that way.
Puppies, squirrels, and meerkats sleep in piles to keep each other warm!
Cows prefer sleeping close to their families. Also, their sleep arrangements are determined by social hierarchy.
Horses, zebras, and elephants all can sleep standing up! Why? Well similar to giraffes, these large creatures need to be prepared for predators.
Ducks sleep in groups, with the ducks at the edges of the group keeping one eye open for predators.
Besides sleeping in piles, meerkats also dig elaborate underground sleeping quarters with various chambers.
Flamingos sleep while standing up, but not for the same reason as horses or zebras (because of predators). It's usually because there simply aren't too many comfortable places to lie down in their normal habitat.
Although elephants can sleep on the ground, they are so big that if they do so for too long, it can actually damage their internal organs!
Some migrating birds can sleep while flying! In fact, Swainson Thrush birds take hundreds of power naps, each lasting only a few seconds.
And to really brighten your day - sea otters will sometimes hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift away from each other!
Featured Image: shutterstock, 25-2. pixabay (public domain), 1. shutterstock