How animals get their shut eye
Walruses are great at multitasking (doing more than one thing at once). When they get hungry, they can dive underwater to search for prey and have a cat nap too since they can hold their breath for up to five minutes. And why not get a little nap in when you know your body is designed to keep you afloat? It’s true. Their bodies have these cool pouches that stop them from sinking.
Sleeping Upside Down
Some people sleep on their sides. Others snooze on their tummies. But bats like to rest upside down. Not the most comfortable position if you ask me, but they do this for a good reason. These small mammals have fairly fragile wings, and so taking flight from this position is easier on their little bodies. But wouldn’t it be uncomfortable sleeping upside down? Not for bats! The Little Brown Bat is happy to sleep that way for almost 20 hours a day!
Sperm Whales don’t need much rest to feel rested. They take short and frequent naps near the water’s surface. But get this. They don’t breathe or move while they’re napping underwater. Crazy!
Sea Otters don’t like to snooze alone. That’s why they’ll join paws when they feel sleepy. That way they’ll be able to stay together as a group and won’t drift away from each other. While you might see just a couple of Sea Otters slumbering together, they also love a slumber party with dozens joining the floating group! Can we join?!
While some animals like the Black Bear will hibernate when Old Man Winter rolls into their neck of the woods, others will go into shorter periods of inactivity, called torpor. That means that animals like the American Badger will drop their body temperature, rate of breathing and even their heartbeat to cut the amount of energy they need to survive the winter.
Head in the Clouds
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night standing in your parents’ room or at the bathroom sink wondering how in the world you got there? Birds do the same thing, except they may wake up in a different province! Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that. You see, birds can sleep with one eye open and only half the brain buzzing with activity while flying south for the winter. But they let themselves sleep this way only when air currents are rising to help keep them flying high.
You Snooze, You Lose
Scientists have found that herbivores (animals that eat plants) get less shut-eye than carnivores (animals that eat meat) since they need to keep their energy up by chowing down on plants. Deer, for example, get only about three hours of sleep a day, which explains why they’re so active at dusk.