Animals that sleep standing up - How they do it and examples

The animal world never fails to show us amazing events. In this, events occur that often seem incredible or very strange to us, since animals have developed endless strategies that better guarantee their stay within the ecosystems in which they inhabit. Among these curiosities, surely you have noticed that there are not few species that sleep upright, which would lead to asking you: ¿why do they do it? ¿They really manage to sleep standing up? ¿They can rest this way?

In this opportunity, from Animal Expert we want to solve these doubts, presenting you an article about animals that sleep standing up. We invite you to continue reading about this interesting topic, so that you know more about the fascinating world of nature.

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  1. Why are there animals that sleep standing up?
  2. How can animals sleep standing up?
  3. Examples of animals that sleep standing up
  4. How long do animals sleep on their feet?

Why are there animals that sleep standing up?

As you have probably noticed, both in nature and in captivity there are different types of animals that sleep standing up. This rest mechanism is developed them allows you to be alert to the possibility of any danger, thus being able to escape more quickly if they are at risk. Thus, the main reason why some animals sleep standing up is for survival. Remember that in nature animals are part of complex food webs, which is why some hunt others. In this sense, many of the prey animals cannot always take refuge, so they require strategies that keep them safe, whenever possible, in addition to ensuring rest, even under these conditions..

That some animals sleep upright does not prevent them from do it also lying on the ground. In fact, several of them, although they can use both forms of rest, must lie down in order to get to a deep sleep, as is the case with horses. Also, scientific studies have shown that although cows can use both forms of rest, they need to lie down to optimize the rumination process and produce more saliva, which is important for their health and digestive process. In addition, in a laid cow the blood supply to the udder is improved, optimizing its function and increasing milk production..

How can animals sleep standing up?

Each species that can sleep on its feet possesses different anatomical mechanisms particular that allow them to rest in this way, maintaining stability, which prevents them from falling while they are asleep. Horses, for example, can do it because block the stifle joint (joint formed between the femur, the tibia and the patella), supporting the weight that is generally supported by the muscles. In this way, by relaxing them, they can rest in this position..

For their part, many birds belonging to the order Passeriformes (where more than half of the world's species are located), such as canaries, pigeons, quail and crows, among others, have a flexor tendon located in the posterior area of ​​the leg that stretches and tenses when the animal bends it to perch somewhere, giving the necessary rigidity for the stabilization of the body. In this way, this mechanism is activated, allowing the bird to hold on firmly without falling when it is asleep. A particular aspect of these species is that they have control over this mechanism, being able to dominate it at will..

Other birds, such as flamingos and storks, can also sleep standing up, what's more, they manage to do so leaning on one leg. The mechanism in this case occurs because the leg joint is blocked when they rest on the ground, preventing the animal's knee from flexing, so that it remains rigid and this makes it remain stable while sleeping. Studies have shown that these animals sleep on one leg to reduce caloric expenditure when there are low temperatures, since in fact when it is not cold, they sleep on both extremities. When sleeping on one leg, it is difficult for them to take flight, which confirms that this posture has to do with protecting the temperature and not with an alert mechanism, as was believed for a long time..

Examples of animals that sleep standing up

Here is a list of animals that sleep upright:

  • Moose.
  • Asses.
  • Bison.
  • Buffalo.
  • Donkeys.
  • Horses.
  • Canaries.
  • Deer.
  • Storks.
  • Elephants.
  • Flamingos.
  • Gazelles.
  • Chickens.
  • Seagulls.
  • Sparrows.
  • Giraffes.
  • Wildebeest.
  • Pigeons.
  • Ducks.
  • Reindeer.
  • Rhinos.
  • Turtledoves.
  • Cows.
  • Swifts.

If you want to know what other animals sleep standing up and how they do it, we encourage you to watch the following video from our friends from EcologíaVerde.

How long do animals sleep on their feet?

Each species has a different sleep pattern. In the case of horses, they can sleep in short periods throughout a day, and the total time can be up to two or three hours. Elephants also usually sleep for a few hours, about two hours, and they often do so at night, although in their natural habitats, it is common for some of the herd to stay awake to be alert to any danger.

Cows generally sleep four hours, usually during the night and, as we have mentioned, although they can do it standing up, they also require for their benefit to do it lying on the ground..

Giraffes often lie on the ground to rest. However, adult individuals can sleep on their feet and do so for about four hours. In addition, there are animals that practically do not sleep.

Animals develop various strategies for their benefit, since it is common for them to be exposed to various situations of vulnerability in nature, so they always seek their survival, a common feature of living beings. In this article we have been able to see that even the way of sleeping enters the different behaviors of animals to ensure the protection of their lives.

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