Sleep: It’s really weird how some animals spend the night

Updated: 05/13/2022 – 21:27

A paw in a paw, in a wild handful, in a sticky cocoon
Sleep: funny how some animals sleep


Photo: Getty Images / Tim Graham

Did you know that seals roost in water and on land? How do animals still sleep like this?

Some animals have really weird sleeping habits: did you know that there are some that slip “side by side” in the dream world, surround themselves in some kind of sleeping bag or only let half of their brain sleep?

People can sometimes sleep in wonderfully crooked positions, which can seem very funny. But believe us, the animal world has some wonderful, but also amazing, and heart-warming sleep habits, which we don’t want to deny. See how animals sleep like this.


Funny sleeping features of animals


Trunk keel: koala


Hardly any other animal sleeps like koalas: they need about 20 hours. They have been said to die of exhaustion when dealing with stressful periods of less than 18 hours of sleep a day.

Koalas prefer to stick to a tree trunk to sleep. It can sound very funny. Animals have permanent dormant trees, which change from time to time. Perhaps one branch or another was modified after all…


paw in paw: otter


Otters spend most of their time in the water, even when they are resting. Then they spend it swimming on their backs. In order not to move away from each other during sleep, they hold each other by the paws. Hand in hand, so to speak, so as not to lose each other. Fabulous romance…



In a pile on top of each other: meerkats


Even in South Africa, the nights can be noticeably cold. And so the meerkats that come from there make themselves very cuddly together to sleep: a whole group usually gathers with the animals and then lies in a wild heap on top of one another. However, one animal has to watch.



On land or in water: seals


Seals are real talents in all respects: they can sleep as well in water as they sleep on land. They float vertically under water and horizontally on the surface. They can stay under water for up to half an hour without having to breathe. The nose and ears are closed tightly so that no water can penetrate.


But most of them prefer to come to the beach to sleep or nap on the sandy banks. It is not uncommon for them to lie on their backs and let the sun shine on their stomachs.



Only Half Asleep: Dolphins


Dolphins breathe through lungs, just like humans. But since they mostly live underwater, they have to make regular appearances. However, they do not have a breathing reflex – which can be fatal to them while they sleep.


That’s why marine creatures resort to the trick: While humans turn off both hemispheres of their brains when they sleep, dolphins only do it one at a time. So while one half can sleep, the other half is watching so you don’t forget to catch your breath. very smart!



Non-stop in the air: Swifts


High Life: Common metamorphoses remain in the air for ten months, and some as long as three years, as they do everything they need to live, such as eating and sleeping. Researchers believe that, like dolphins, only half of their brain is left to sleep, and the other half is controlled by them when they are flying.


Many other migratory birds also stay in the air for long distances – they also depend on their ability to sleep while flying over the open sea. But no bird is able to do that as long as it is fast. Fascinating!



Wrapped in a “sleeping bag”: a parrot fish


Hungry parasites can make fish sleep – yes, they need it too, even if they do with their eyes open – totally worms. In order to be able to sleep peacefully without chomping, parrot fish have developed a really ingenious form of protection:


Every night they form a shell of slime around themselves that envelops the animals’ bodies comfortably like a cocoon. Little vampires can hardly reach them, and parrot fish sleep well all night.



Speaking of which, how much sleep do pets need? And quite frankly: How much sleep do cats really need? When cats sleep, do they also dream?


What about sleeping places for dogs? What to pay attention to.


Finally, the age-old, and always-favorite question: Are dogs allowed to sleep with you? How Martin Rotter thinks about what other people say. You can learn more about animals in general and pets in particular on our topic page.



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