8 Fun Facts about Animal Sleep

In the animal kingdom, sleeping can get dangerous – here are some fun facts about how different animals sleep!

When in the wild, sleep can actually be dangerous. If you’re out in the open, or not hiding, a predator can come find you OR you’re exposed to the weather. In order to protect themselves and adapt to the places where they live, animals evolved different ways to sleep safely!

Below are some of our favorite animal sleep facts, but you can always learn more on our Animals and Sleep blog, too!

#1 Wolves

Our name is “Wolf,” so we just HAD to include our favorite animal on this list! Wolves nap, just like dogs, during the day. They can spend up to 4-10 hours asleep during daylight hours. However, unlike our dogs (who nap just because they can), wolves nap during the day because they hunt at night. So they actually WORK for their naps. 

In addition, the pack always sleeps together. If they can’t find a den big enough to enclose the whole group, they’ll scratch out spaces in an open field to provide a little protection from the elements. Pups and mothers sleep in the back of the den for extra protection.

#2 Flamingos

Pink flamingos sleep standing up – and on one leg! Flamingos have tendons and ligaments in their legs that can be “locked” into a single position, which lets them stand one-legged in a swamp without any troubles. Why? For flamingos, sleeping like this takes less energy than sleeping on two feet. 

#3 Ferrets

When you see a pet ferret on the internet, they’re usually up to some crazy shenanigans! But did you know that ferrets need about 16 hours of sleep per DAY? They sleep in chunks of about six hours at a time, usually waking up to be crazy around dawn and dusk. If they don’t get this amount of sleep regularly, their health will suffer and they could die. 

In addition, ferrets can also go into a “dead sleep,” where they look… well, dead. They can be picked up, kissed, jostled around, or wiggled by someone else and they won’t move; they’ll stay limp as a noodle. It’s normal (and kind of adorable), but just check on their breathing to make sure they’re okay. 

#4 Otters

When sea otters sleep, they hold hands with each other! SO cute, it’s viral-video worthy <3 but why do they do that? Well, sea otters spend most of their lives in rivers and oceans so they hold hands to keep their packs together and to stop themselves from drifting away from the group. Smart AND cute!

In addition, big groups of otters in the wild (up to 100 or more) will also wrap themselves in forests of seaweed or kelp to keep them tethered to one spot. This is called an “otter raft”!

#5 Dolphins

Because they’re out in open water and need to be on constant lookout for sharks, dolphins can stay awake for up to 2 weeks straight, according to NBC News. 

So how do they rest while they keep lookout? Turns out, dolphins can turn off half of their brain to let it rest for a while! They switch which side is active so that one side doesn’t take all the stress. This is called “unihemispheric sleep”! You can learn more about this on our blog Animals and Sleep, too.

#6 Octopi

Octopi change colors when they sleep – and some scientists say that it’s because they’re dreaming! 

Unlike humans, octopi have two different kinds of sleep: active and passive. Passive sleep for an octopus is like us: staying still, breathing is shallow, eyes closed. However, for a few minutes during passive sleep, active sleep comes along. During active sleep, the octopus changes colors, moves their eyes and tentacles, and even changes texture (bumps raise up on their skin, like goosebumps). 

#7 Walruses

If you think you can sleep anywhere, a walrus has you beat. They can quite truly sleep anywhere, whether on land or in water! 

From the bottom of the ocean to using their tusks to hang off ice floes, walruses hold the record for weird sleep positions. They can sleep around 4 or 5 minutes in deep water before coming up for a breath, but can sleep deeply on land for over 19 hours at a time. Like dolphins, walruses can also experience unihemispheric sleep. 

#8 Meerkats

Forget dogpile – time to “meerkat-pile”! Meerkats sleep in fuzzy little piles. They usually do this while in their burrows in the winter to stay warm, but they also cuddle-pile outside in the summer. 

Those are our favorite animal sleep facts! Humans were never meant to sleep these ways – we were meant to have some padding between us and the dirt. 

And if you’re looking to replace that mattress that’s supposed to give you a good night’s sleep, shop Wolf mattresses online (wolfmattressexpress.com) or in-person at our Factory Store on 3434 Maplecrest Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

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Fort Wayne, IN

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