15 Animals That Sleep A Lot
Did you know that there are some animals that are capable of sleeping more than 20 hours in a row? These long sleep patterns are related to factors such as food, performed activities and needs of the specific species. Additionally, did you know that there are some animals that don’t sleep much?
For more about sleeping animals and sleep characteristics in individual animal species, keep reading here at AnimalWised. Not only will we be discussing which animals sleep the most, but we’ll also cover the animals that sleep the least, with some pictures and videos included!
How much sleep do animals need?
Like humans, animals need sleep, although the time required varies according to the species. Some animals are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and rest during the day, while others rest at night and vice-versa.
Sleep helps an organism recover energy, relax and remain balanced, specifically in terms of an animal’s metabolism. So, if you’re wondering,‘‘Which animals don’t sleep at all?’’ There are none. All animals need sleep, but some just need less sleep than others.
For more, you may be interested in reading our article where we discuss, ‘‘How do fish sleep?’’
Animals that sleep the most
Which are the animals that sleep the most? Although all animals sleep, not all of them sleep the same amount or in the same way. Some animals, for example, hibernate during the winter. Hibernating animals do this in order to conserve energy and survive the longer and colder periods when food is sparce. In this article, however, we will not include hibernation animals. We’re rather focusing on those animals that sleep the most hours during the day. With this in mind, the most sleepy animals include:
- Little brown bat
- Pygmy possum
- Domestic cat
- Tree shrew
For more about hibernating animals, we recommend reading our article where we discuss how and when do bears hibernate.
Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are herbivores that belong to the marsupial family. Koalas mostly live in trees, as they find it difficult moving on the ground.
How long does a koala bear sleep a day? Koalas sleep more than any other animal species, 22 hours a day to be exact. They use the leftover 2 ‘active’ hours to feed and perform additional requirements. But, why do koala’s sleep so much? Koalas sleep a lot because their diet is made up predominantly of eucalyptus leaves, a low nutrient plant which requires a lot of energy to be digested correctly.
Koala fun fact: koala’s love eating, and can feed on up to 1 kilogram of eucaplyptus leaves a day!
For more about the cute sleepy koala bear, we recommend reading our article where we discuss the slowest animals in the world.
Sloths are part of the suborder Folivora, and have the ability to sleep for up to 20 hours a day, which they do by hanging from trees or curling into a ball on a tree.
Domestic sloths can sleep up to 23 hours a day, specifically because they don’t have the responsibility of finding their own food and/or shelter.
Fun sloth fact: sloths only go to the toilet once a week. For more, read about these interesting facts about sloths.
3. Little brown bat
The little brown bat (Myotis longipes) owes its name to its tiny size of 10 cm in length and 14 kilograms in weight. This night animal invests 20 hours a day sleeping, and has a life expectancy of 7 years.
Little brown bat fun fact: they eat while flying.
Read here about how a bat’s bio sonar works.
The opossum (Didelphimorphia superfamily) is a marsupial that is characterized for having a 40 cm long tail, a robust body and an elongated snout. This sleepy animal is agile, fast and has the ability to "play dead" when threatened.
The opossum sleeps roughly 19 hours a day to recover energy.
Opossum fun fact: opposums have 50 teeth!
The armadillo (Dasypodidae) is a mammal that is characterized for its shell and appearance, similar to that of a prehistoric rat. This sleepy animal has a pointed muzzle and small eyes, in addition to pink, brown, gray or yellowish skin. Armadillos live in hot and humid climates, such as wooded areas or grasslands.
Armadillos are capable of sleeping up to 19 hours in a row.
Armadillo fun fact: they have very poor eyesight, and use their strong sense of smell to hunt for food.
For more about this cingulate mammals, we recommend reading our article where we look at where do giant armadillos live.
The ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is a carnivorous mammal that is characterized by its elongated body, short legs and ears, profiled nose and small eyes. Its coat can vary between white, black and silver.
This sleepy animal sleeps roughly 18 hours a day. When awake, ferrets are very active, curious, sociable and playful animals.
Ferret fun fact: female ferrets, if they do not mate, run the risk of producing to much estrogen, which can be fatal.
For more about ferrets, we recommend reading our article where discuss everything you need to know about ferrets as pets.
7. Mountain pygmy possum
The mountain pygmy possum(Burramys parvus), is a marsupial native to South America. This possum dedicates roughly 18 hours a day to sleep. However, once this omnivorous animal has woken up, it feeds on nearly everything and anything it can find, including plants, leaves, fruits, insects, frogs, snakes, small birds, etc.
Mountain pygmy possum fun fact: despite their very cute and fluffy appearance, they are great hunters.
The lemur (Lemuroidea superfamily) is mammal endemic to the island of Madagascar. Lemurs belong to the family of primates and spend most of their time in trees.
Lemurs are on our list of animals that sleep the most because they can sleep up to 16 hours a day.
Lemur fun fact: lemurs communicate which each other by scent.
For more read, ‘‘Where do lemurs live?’’
Tigers (Panthera tigris) are one of the largest and most feared animals in the world. Not only are they great hunters, but they are at the top of the food chain in the areas they inhabit.
This mammal can sleep up to 16 hours, most of which are in the day. At night, tigers dedicate most of their time to hunting and finding a partner. The latter is done only during the mating season.
Tiger fun fact: there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild.
For more about these amazing animals that sleep a lot, we recommend reading our article where we list all types of tigers around the world.
10. Domestic cat
The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is one of the most famous pets in the world. In addition to its fluffy fur and interesting character, cats are known for their love of sleep.
A common domestic cat can sleep 16 hours a day. Ctas spend the rest of their time active; eating, playing and cuddling.
Cat fun fact: cats cannot taste sweet things.
For more about a cat’s sleep pattern, we suggest taking a look at our article where we discuss,‘‘How many hours a day do cats sleep?’’
Shrews (subfamily Soricidae) are mammals that feed on insects and small invertebrates. Shrews measure between 5 and 8 cm and are characterized by having a pointed snout, small eyes, short fur and very long tail.
Shrews sleep roughly 16 hours a day and have a life expectancy of 4 years.
Shrew fun fact: despite being mammals, some shrew species are venomous.
12. Tree shrew
Tree shrews are small mammals native to the Asian continent. Tree shrews feed mainly on insects, such as ants, grasshoppers, butterflies, etc.
These sleepy animals can sleep up to 15 hours a day.
Tree shrew fun fact: tree shrews are very territorial, and can even fight with each other when they feel threatened.
Squirrels (subfamily Ratufinae) are rodents that can be found all over the world. Squirrels live in trees, except for ground squirrels, which dig burrows into the ground.
Squirrels are considered animals that sleep a lot as they can spend up to 14 hours resting. In their active hours, they spend this time dedicated to finding food and changing shelters.
Squirrel fun fact: squirrels are born blind.
Lions (Panthera leo), in addition to being carnivorous, sleep a lot!
While female lions take care of the young and hunt for food, male lions sleep for roughly 13 to 20 hours a day. When awake, they spend their time feeding, mating or protecting their pride from other lions.
Lion fun fact: all lion cubs are born with blue eyes.
Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) also take up a space on this list of animals that sleep a lot. While it is true that they remain awake and alert to any threat, dogs need roughly 13 hours a day of sleep. This time is distributed in spaces of roughly 8 or 9 hours during the night, adding naps during morning hours.
For more details about a dog’s sleeping pattern read, ‘‘How many hours a day do dogs sleep?’’
Animals that don’t sleep a lot
Not only are there animals that sleep a lot, there are also many species that don’t sleep a lot. Animals that sleep the least include:
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is one of the most beautiful and impressive mammals in the world. Did you know that a giraffe only sleeps 2 hours a day at 10-minute intervals?
Elephants (family Elephantidae), also known as the largest land mammal in the world, is native to the Asian and African continent. Elephants can eat up to 200 kilograms of food a day and they only sleep between 3 and 4 hours.
Cows (family Bovidae) are ruminants and only sleep for 4 hours a day. The quality of a cow’s sleep has a direct impact on the quality of its milk.
Horses (Equus ferus caballus) spend most of their time on their feet, in fact, horses are animals that sleep standing up. In addition, like humans, horses are able to dream. In total, they sleep 3 hours a day. For more read, ‘‘How do horses sleep?’’
Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are also an important member of our list of animals that sleep the least, as they sleep a maximum of 5 hours a day. The rest of a goat’s time is spent grazing and playing with goat friends, as they are very sociable animals.
If you want to read similar articles to 15 Animals That Sleep A Lot, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.
- Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Phascolarctos cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16892A21960344. .
- Bauer, H.; Packer, C.; Funston, P.F.; Henschel, P. & Nowell, K. (2016). Panthera leo (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15951A115130419.
- Muller, Z.; Bercovitch, F.; Brand, R.; Brown, D.; Brown, M.; Bolger, D.; Carter, K.; Deacon, F.; Doherty, J.B.; Fennessy, J.; Fennessy, S.; Hussein, A.; Lee, D.; Marais, A.; Strauss, M.; Tutchings, A. & Wube, T. (2018). Giraffa camelopardalis (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T9194A136266699.
- Menkhorst, P.; Broome, L. & Driessen, M. (2008). Burramys parvus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3339A9775825.
- Kruskop, S.V. (2016). Myotis longipes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14175A22056206.
- Goodrich, J.; Lynam, A.; Miquelle, D.; Wibisono, H.; Kawanishi, K.; Pattanavibool, A.; Htun, S.; Tempa, T.; Karki, J.; Jhala, Y. & Karanth, U. (2015). Panthera tigris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15955A50659951.