Jul 28

We’ve all had those mornings where we just want to hit the snooze button for five more minutes and most people would agree that some days are harder to get out of bed than others. Well, you may be surprised to learn there are species in the animal kingdom that just might agree with you.

We’ve compiled our top ten list of ARKive’s sleepiest critters…let’s see if you are still yawning by the end of it!

Wiped out fellow

Photo of gentoo penguin chick sleeping

I would be tired too if I were capable of impressive diving feats like the gentoo penguin who can pursue prey up 170 metres or 550 feet deep down in the ocean.

Sweet sleeper

Photo of a sleeping arctic fox club

Although taking a moment to catch up on some sleep here, the Arctic fox is usually always on the search for food and amazingly, can reduce its metabolism by half, while still being active, to help conserve energy while on the hunt.

Sprawled out slumber 

Photo of a male brown bear sleeping

It’s well known that most bears hibernate through the winter months but sometimes it’s worth a reminder about how truly unique this process is. Once brown bears enter their hibernation period, they don’t eat, drink, urinate or defecate for up to six months!  Could you imagine not getting out of bed for anything for 6 months?

Chameleons catch forty winks

Parson's chameleon sleeping, photo

It seems as though Parson’s chameleons start off as sleepy critters. With one of the longest incubations periods in the reptile world, it takes a whopping 20 months for a Parson’s chameleon egg to hatch. I guess if I had a nice safe place to sleep, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to hatch either!

Out for the count

Photo of African lions sleeping

It’s not surprising to catch all these big cats sleeping in the middle of the day. Lions are inactive 20 out of 24 hours a day and reserve their energy for the cool and darker times of day, such as sunrise and sunset, to hunt.

Submerged snoozer

Photo of a Florida manatee sleeping on river bed

Manatees need to come up for air approximately every 20 minutes or less making them the top napping species on the list. Since manatees never leave the water, they don’t experience long periods of slumber like humans and so frequent, short bouts of sleep while resting on the ocean floor are enough for them.

Daytime dozer

Photo of a little owl sleeping

Although most owls are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and mostly inactive during the day, the little owl is actually diurnal and prefers to do most of its hunting during the day. This little owl, however, seems to have taken the opportunity to catch a few winks before bedtime.

Curled up to catch z’s

Photo of a common dormouse hibernating

The dormouse is such a sleepy creature that its name is thought to derive from the French word ‘dormir’ meaning ‘to sleep’. When ready to begin hibernation, which can last up to 7 months, the dormouse enters a state of extreme torpor where its body processes slow to a fraction of their normal rate.

Cat-napping koala

Photo of koala sleeping in branches

Another sleepy species, the koala spends a vast majority of its time snoozing away and even when awake, it’s a very sedentary species. You’ll find koalas often catching Z’s while balancing on branches in trees well out of harm’s way.

What a yawn! 

Thylacine with mouth agape

Although extinct, we still know some very interesting facts about this species and that when it yawned, the thylacine could open its jaw wider than any mammal on the planet. Are you yawning yet?

Can you find other sleepy creatures on ARKive? Can you think of other interesting species sleeping facts? Why not share them with us in the comments below!

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA

  • Ben R (July 29th, 2011 at 9:29 am):

    So cute :)

  • Paula Lee Bright (July 30th, 2011 at 12:02 pm):

    I am dying to use these resources with my students. They are kids who aren’t succeeding in school because they need reading help.

    Your work here is so incredible that I’d be honored to be allowed to use it with them. I especially love the wordless videos. This could be a wonderful key to getting them writing.

    They will SO LOVE the materials you have here. Thank you!

  • Liana (August 1st, 2011 at 1:47 pm):

    Hi Paula, I’m so glad you’re enjoying ARKive and find it a valuable resource. Please do let us know how you’re using ARKive in the classroom and if you have any thoughts on how to make it an even better resource for educators!