Sleep is a source of envy for those who can’t get enough of it and an excellent reward for those who can. It is a well-known fact how necessary sleep is. 

We crawl into bed every night, hoping to get the required seven to nine hours of sleep. But many other animals have pretty different ideas on sleeping experiences. 

We humans can soothe ourselves with a super-comfy sumptuous bed, relaxing music, and cozy cushions to assist us in falling asleep horizontally. 

You might feel shocked to know that species in the animal kingdom might feel uncomfortable on your comfy bed. 

Some of these creatures have unusual sleeping patterns. Here are the fifteen animals with weird sleeping postures:

Table of Contents

1. Bats

Resting upside down works for bats
Resting upside down works for bats | Image Credit – Firstcry Parenting
HabitatDeserts, woodlands, suburban communities, caves, and cities
Sleeping PostureUpside down 
Reason Behind PostureWings aren’t strong enough to lift them off the ground

Resting upside down may not seem like the optimal sleeping position, but it works for bats. 

But do you know why bats sleep on their backs? Because bats’ wings aren’t strong enough to lift them off the ground, they do this. 

The creatures hold themselves suspended in the air, allowing them to take advantage of gravity and take flight from their perches.

Bats, too, sleep in an upside-down position for a long time. Bats are among the most sleepy animals on the planet.

2. Giraffes

Giraffe sleeping
Giraffe sleeping | Image Credit – Bored Panda
HabitatSemi-arid savannah and savannah woodlands in Africa
Sleeping PostureSleep while standing
Reason Behind PostureAvoid  predators

These lumbering creatures may go weeks without sleeping in the wild, but it’s a technique they’ve developed out of need. 

Adult giraffes are continuously looking for predators due to their size and slowness. When they fall asleep, they frequently rise to avoid spending time getting their lanky legs off the ground, which they may not have.

However, this is mostly for adult giraffes. As depicted above, Giraffe babies sleep lying down, with their legs curled behind them and their necks twisting around to rest on or near their rump.

Giraffes nap for only five minutes at a time, for a total of roughly 30 minutes per day.

3. Dolphins

How do dolphins sleep? | Video Credit – It’s AumSum Time
HabitatOpen oceans, coastal waters, river basins, certain inland seas, gulfs, and channels.
Sleeping Posturelogging
Reason Behind PostureNo suffocation 

Another animal that only rests half of its brain is the dolphin. For dolphins, it’s not just about keeping an eye out for predators. 

Dolphins, like people, need to breathe, but they don’t do so automatically. When they sleep, they must be awake enough to rise to the surface to take a breath periodically so they don’t suffocate.

Dolphins lie horizontally toward the surface with their blowholes above the water when they wish to sleep longer. 

Because the calm, floating dolphin resembles a log in the water, this activity is known as logging.

However, dolphin babies and their mothers do not use these sleeping practices. In their first month of life, baby dolphins don’t sleep at all; they constantly swim to avoid predators and maintain body temperature while building blubber. 

The mothers of those babies follow suit, obtaining nearly little sleep to protect the growing calf.

4. Ducks

Ducks sleeping with one eye open
Ducks sleeping with one eye open | Image Credit – Moment of Science
HabitatThroughout the world except in Antarctica
Sleeping PostureSleep with one eye open
Reason Behind Posturekeeps watch for predators

To begin with, the ducks almost always sleep in groups or rows. Second, the ducks at the rear of the row sleep spherically like sperm whales, with one eye looking away from the group. The ducks in the center of the group, on the other hand, close both eyes.

Working together to keep everyone safe while resting is sometimes advantageous, and ducks do just that. Ducks prefer to sleep in groups of two or three in a row.

5. Sea Otters

Sea otters sleep floating on their back
Sea otters sleep floating on their back | Image Credit – Quartz
NameSea Otters
HabitatRocky shores and sea-bottoms, sandy sea-bottoms, as well as coastal wetlands
Sleeping PostureFloating on their backs 
Reason Behind PostureSafety from predators

When it comes to napping, sea otters like to be in the water. Floating on their backs keeps them safe from predators on land, while enveloping themselves in seaweed prevents them from drifting away with the currents. 

In what is known as an otter raft, up to 100 sea otters can be seen sleeping together in this manner. Some otter pairs up with other otters to keep them company when they sleep.

6. Great Frigatebirds

Great frigatebirds sleep when they fly
Great frigatebirds sleep when they fly | Image Credit – Insider
NameGreat Frigatebirds 
HabitatCoasts and islands in tropical and subtropical waters.
Sleeping PostureCircling in rising air currents
Reason Behind Posture

Great Frigatebirds have been known to stay in the air for months at a time. This feature is a remarkable achievement, made even more so when you consider how they sleep: in 7–12 second bursts. 

When flying, the birds sleep for about 40 minutes each day, significantly less than they would on the ground.

7. Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee sleeping
Chimpanzee sleeping | Image Credit – Smithsonian
HabitatSavanna woodlands, grassland-forest mosaics, and tropical moist forests
Sleeping PostureMake a nest to sleep
Reason Behind PostureAvoid preditors

Chimpanzees, like humans, prefer to sleep curled up. They even build nests out of twigs and leaves to sleep high up in the trees, just like humans do. They are, however, extremely particular when it comes to these beds.

According to research, chimpanzees are picky about the trees they use for their nests, preferring those with rigid branches and a little spacing between leaves. 

Then, after spending so much time and effort locating the ideal tree for building the perfect nest, a chimp will only use it once. 

The chimp will leave the nest after one night’s sleep and create a new one for the next night.

8. Meerkats

Meercats snuggling with each other
Meercats snuggling with each other | Image Credit – Tree hugger
HabitatDeserts and grasslands of the southern tip of Africa
Sleeping PostureSnuggled on top of each other in one adorable pile
Reason Behind PostureKeep themselves warm

Meerkats live in mobs or gangs that reside in underground burrows. Meerkat groups are hierarchical, with alpha males and females leading the way. 

As seen by their cozy sleeping habits, they are close-knit communities, including lying in mounds with the alpha meerkats in the middle, far away from any danger.

9. Horses

Horses can sleep while standing
Horses can sleep while standing | Image Credit – The Conversation
HabitatAny habitat 
Sleeping PostureSleeps standing up
Reason Behind PostureProtect themselves

When you’re a prey animal, sleeping standing up has its advantages since it keeps you alert and ready to flee danger. Horses are just one example of animals with this skill. 

Horses employ a stay apparatus, a musculoskeletal adaptation that locks their limbs in place, to perform this successfully. They lie down now and then because sleeping standing up allows only light sleep.

10. Walrus

Walrus sleeping
Walrus sleeping
HabitatSea ice
Sleeping PostureSleeps at every chance lying on the bottom, or standing and leaning
Reason Behind PostureSwims continuously up to 84 hours

The walrus is a sleeper who takes advantage of every chance. It can nap whenever and wherever it wants, whether it’s floating in the water, lying on the ground, or leaning on another walrus. 

According to researchers, walruses have also been observed relaxing in water while using their tusks to hang from ice floes.

Walruses can only nap in the water for a few minutes at a time before needing to come up for air. However, they fall asleep quickly and can sleep for up to 19 hours on land.

Don’t let this fool you into thinking they’re slackers. Walruses can go through periods of activity in which they are awake and swim for up to 84 hours. They require it when it is finally time to sleep.

11. Frog

When hibernating, Frogs’ heart stops | Video Credit –
That Question
HabitatTropical forests to frozen tundras to deserts
Sleeping PostureHeart stops while hibernation 
Reason Behind PostureIce crystal formation under the skin

Frogs can be a little mysterious at times. Where do they spend the winter months? They can sleep through the winter, but differently than bears. 

A frog’s heart stops beating thoroughly, and they stop breathing during hibernation. 

While many of us would consider this “dead,” the high glucose contents in the frog’s organs prevent them from freezing solid. 

This increased glucose concentration indicates they’ll be hopping around again as soon as they defrost.

12. Sperm whale

Sperm whale
Sperm Whales neither breathe nor move when sleeping | Image Credit – Live Science
NameSperm whale
HabitatDeep oceanic waters,
Sleeping Posture
Does not breath or move while they sleep
Reason Behind PostureHelp them avoid predators

Sperm whales are the world’s most giant toothed whales, as well as the world’s greatest predators. 

That may sound daunting, but even they require rest, and when they do, they do so in an exciting manner. 

Standing on their tails, sperm whales take a snooze. The whales do not move or even breathe during these naps, which can last up to 15 minutes.

13. Desert snail

Desert snails sleep for years | Video Credit – Natural History Museum
NameDesert snail
HabitatDesert or other arid areas
Sleeping PostureCan sleep for years
Reason Behind PostureWeather is not cooperating

The desert snail is capable of sleeping for years. The British Museum had obtained a specimen for their collection that they thought was dead, but four years later, the little guy awoke and crawled around. 

14. Albatross

Albatross | Image Credit – Flickr
HabitatOn or above the ocean
Sleeping PostureSleep while flying 
Reason Behind PostureThreat of getting eaten on water

The albatross has discovered a technique to combine sleeping and seeking food due to the demands of their hectic hunting lifestyle. 

It has been found that albatrosses can sleep while flying. The wingspans of these birds are remarkable.

15. Cat

Sleeping Cat
Cat sleeps up to 20 hours a day | Image Credit – Pumpkin pet insurance
HabitatForests, grasslands, tundra, coastal areas, agricultural land, scrublands, and urban areas.
Sleeping PostureCan sleep up to 20 hours a day
Reason Behind PostureProtein-rich diet

Cats have a terrible reputation for napping excessively, but give your cat a break; they deserve a good rest. 

Even though we think of cats as domesticated, they evolved in the wild, where they had to hunt and chase their prey. That consumes a significant amount of energy. 

Because domestic cats have developed, they still participate in similar behaviors when playing with a laser pointer or a stuffed mouse. Your cat may sleep for up to 20 hours every day.


Everyone enjoys a nice nap, but finding the right time and location can be challenging for wild animals. 

When it comes to sleep for the animals, there’s a lot to think about, whether it’s staying safe from predators, staying warm, or remembering to breathe, and animals have come up with a variety of strange and fascinating solutions.

(Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Rishu Shakya, a bachelor’s degree graduate in Business Information Management, holds an extraordinary empathy towards mother nature and her ecosystem. She has always been captivated by green Earth and its charm. She regards spreading awareness about clean energy and sustainable development as her passion as well as responsibility. She believes her compassion about the Earth and human relationships will undoubtedly assist our planet to be a better place.