Everybody has that one friend that can sleep anywhere. More often than not, that friend is a dog, and how pups sleep actually tells us a lot about what they’re feeling.
But dogs aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom (or sea life) that sleep in unusual ways. After all, who hasn't wondered how a giraffe manages to rest its head despite that long neck, or how ocean-crossing birds find a place to snooze?
Here are 11 quirky, adorable, and odd animal sleeping habits. Read on to learn how birds, fish, and (of course) sloths look for that one perfect spot to dream.
Otters are a perennial favorite for their playful disposition. And the aquatic mammals are just as cute in their sleep habits. Otters nap while floating on their backs to keep away from hungry predators on land. As if showing their tummies wasn’t endearing enough, they also, on occasion, hold hands with fellow otters while catching a few winks to make sure they don’t drift apart.
It’s hard to be an owlet. Baby owls’ sleep position is a meme waiting to happen. The tiny nocturnal birds sleep on their stomachs with their heads turned to the side because their heads are too heavy for them to hold upright.
Duck, duck, snooze
You’re not the only one who tries to get their ducks in a row: Ducks do the same thing when it comes time to sleep. The lucky ducks in the middle get to shut both eyes while the outside ducks sleep with one eye open to watch for predators.
Sleeping on a cloud
If you struggle to sleep on planes, try and channel the great frigatebird. The sea bird, which can fly over the oceans for months at a time (tragically, the species can’t swim), regularly naps 45 minutes a day while flying. Great frigatebirds micro-nap in roughly 10-second bursts to restore their energy without losing momentum.
When it comes to the cuddle puddle, few species having it nailed down like the meerkat. The tiny animals — you know them from “The Lion King” — sleep in big, cozy huddles. Sleeping together is partly for warmth, and also to protect the leaders of the pack, who are snuggled down at the bottom of the heap.
Plenty of rest
Brown bats have their sleep down. The mouse-eared, bug-eating bats native to North America sleep roughly 19 hours a day. They also sleep upside down to conserve energy and be ready for flight in case they need to make a quick getaway.
Slowly sinking into sleep
The poster animal for sleep, sloths know how to prioritize slumber. They can sleep upside down or wrapped around a tree branch thanks to hooked claws that give them incredible grip strength.
The water bed
Walruses have a built-in pool (well, ocean) float. When napping offshore, they can store air in a pair of pockets known as pharyngeal pouches (in the space behind their nose and mouth) to keep their head above water while they catch up on rest.
Sleep with one eye open
When you find yourself staring at a screen, unable to sleep, you might wish you were a dolphin. The marine mammals engage in unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, where they turn off one half of their brain while sleeping with the opposite eye open. Dolphins need their brains to send a signal constantly to their body to remember to breathe.
The neck pillow
Someday, you may find yourself asking if that is a doughnut or a bagel at the zoo. Giraffes fold their legs down and curl up into a ball with their heads on their backsides. The long-legged animals, ever ready in case a predator shows up, can get by on just 30 minutes of sleep a day.
Everybody has quirky bedtime routines. The parrotfish, which lives in coral reefs, blows out a bubble of mucus around its body before sleep. The snot bubble keeps it free of parasites.