- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Top 9 Animals That Sleep the Most

4. Orangutans Tie Themselves Up

Orangutans thread their fingers and toes around branches so they don’t fall out of their tree nests.

Orangutan Orangutan - Photo: Matej Hudovernik/Shutterstock

5. Koalas Hold on For Dear Life

Ever fallen out of bed at night? Other animals don’t like that kind of nasty surprise either, so they’ve come up with unusual tricks to avoid it. Koalas cram themselves into forks in eucalyptus branches so they don’t fall out (sounds comfy).

6. An Okapi’s Sleep Is Short But Deep

The okapi holds a record: this forest giraffe might find a place to sleep and spend around six hours there, but it only gets 30 seconds of deep sleep. It repeats it around ten times a night.

Okapi Okapi - Photo: Miama2you/Shutterstock

7. Swifts Fall Asleep at the Wheel

The swift spends almost three years in the air. They catch prey in the air, eat in the air and sleep in the air! This method is also used by some migratory birds that have to fly all day long over open water to get to their summer/winter homes. They fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. It’s only ok for animals to do it!

8. Sperm Whales Don’t Notice Anything

Unlike dolphins, sperm whales sleep with both halves of their brains. They sleep upright (!!!) in the ocean with their heads pointing upwards. They sleep so deeply that they don’t even notice boats.

Sperm Whale Sperm Whale - Photo: wildestanimal/Shutterstock

9. Birds Cramp Up

When we humans relax, our muscles loosen and lengthen. It’s the other way around in birds. The muscles in their feet/claws tense when they relax. They can sit and sleep on an electrical cable in complete safety.

10. Basilisks Use a Trap

Basilisks (a lizard) climb onto the end of a branch hanging over the sea to sleep. If a predator comes close, while the basilisk is dreaming of tasty insects, the branch starts to wobble. The basilisk falls into the water, out of harm’s way. And freshly showered too!

11. Hoofed Animals Are Too Scared to Lie Down

It might be unthinkable to us humans but many hoofed animals don’t lie down to sleep. It could have a nasty ending for flight animals such as antelopes. By the time they’d stood up, the lion would already have its snack in its paws. To make sure this doesn’t happen, they stay in their herds, appoint guards and sleep standing up. And: although adult elephants and rhinos don’t have much to fear, they can’t sleep lying down because their own weight would put too much pressure on their lungs.

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