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25 Animals that Don’t Sleep at Night [With Images]

Animals That Don't Sleep

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Welcome to exploring the mysterious world of “animals that don’t sleep”! While humans enjoy seven to nine hours of sleep each night, they try to fathom a life without the sweet relief of sleeping. From the great ocean depths to the endless blue skies, some organisms strangely do not share this fundamental biological activity with us. They’ve developed novel ways of existing without ever sleeping. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Join us on an enthralling expedition as we delve into the world of these indefatigable creatures, exploring their fascinating adaptations and questioning our preconceived notions about the importance of slumber. The animal kingdom is a fascinating realm, filled with creatures that challenge our conventional notions of sleep. From the busy bees to the wandering bullfrogs, countless examples of animals seem to operate on a different sleep schedule than humans.

25 Animals That Don’t Sleep

How can we tell if an animal is sleeping or awake? There are several ways to figure that out.

For some species, we can look at brain activity or how the eyes move to find REM sleep. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, we can tell how the animal is sleeping by looking at its eyes.

1. Dolphin


Dolphins don’t sleep for a month after they are born. They always keep at least one eye open and are always awake. They will also keep coming up for air every three to thirty seconds. Scientists have found that the women are also awake at this time.

Dolphins also do something called “uni-hemispheric sleeping,” meaning half of their brain is always awake. Then, they switch which side of their body is awake so that their whole brain can rest. This helps them stay safe while they sleep and keep an eye out for sharks and other dangerous animals. Dolphins can also swim while they sleep, which is another fun fact.

2. Koala Bears

koala bears

Dolphins don’t sleep for a month after they are born. They always keep at least one eye open and are always awake. They will also keep coming up for air every three to thirty seconds. Scientists have found that the women are also awake at this time.

Dolphins also do something called “uni-hemispheric sleeping,” meaning half of their brain is always awake. Then, they switch which side of their body is awake so that their whole brain can rest. This helps them stay safe while they sleep and keep an eye out for sharks and other dangerous animals. Dolphins can also swim while they sleep, which is another fun fact.

Read More: Plastic-Free Ocean for Animal Wellbeing

3. Orca


Orcas, also known as killer whales, are another species where babies go for months without sleeping. Even when the adults are sleeping, young orcas can be seen swimming around.

One of the main reasons baby orcas, sometimes known as calves, must constantly move around is to keep their bodies warm. They can begin resting and sleeping after they acquire enough blubber to shield them.

4. Fruit Fly

fruit fly

Fruit fly sleep habits vary from fly to fly, according to scientists. Some flies sleep for 10 hours a day, while others do not sleep at all or subsist on only 4 minutes of sleep every day. In another experiment, scientists discovered that fruit flies deprived of sleep lived precisely as long as flies that slept “normally.”

Read Also: Growing Up Animals Children Sociable

5. Sharks


When you think of a shark, you probably see it rushing across the ocean. A shark faces the stream’s flow after slowing down to a crawl. This permits it to slumber while water continues to flow over its gills, providing oxygen. Sharks do not sleep deeply, although they rest their bodies during this period.

Sharks can relax faster than parrotfish, dolphins, and other water creatures. They have relatively few natural predators to consider as they catch some downtime.

6. Parrotfish


This colorful fish lives worldwide in the nooks and corners of coral reefs. Sharks and moray eels are among the animals that eat them. So, tell me, how do these fish rest? Before they sleep at night, they do something special to keep their enemies away.

This fish can wrap its body in a clear shroud made of mucus. Inside the net, the fish can still breathe. If a predator bites the cocoon, this fish can swim away, leaving the cocoon in the mouth of the predator. The web also hides the parrotfish’s smell.

7. Alpine Swift

alpine swift

Alpine swifts journey from Switzerland to West Africa when they migrate. During this trip, they can fly nonstop for 200 days, which is 6 months. During this time, these birds won’t even land or rest on the tops of trees.

Even when their wings aren’t working as much, the birds constantly move around in the air. Scientists don’t know if they have a unique way to rest or sleep while flying.

8. Horse


Horses aren’t like people because they don’t sleep on their backs. Horses can lock their legs together and sleep while standing for short times. When horses need to sleep for several hours, they get down on the ground and tuck their legs in front of them. It’s not often that you see a wild horse like a Mustang lying on its back. When a wild horse is lying down like this, it is easy for predators to get to it.

Horses that are kept as pets also sleep standing up. But they feel safer than wild horses and are more likely to lie down with their heads on the ground in an open field.

Also Read: Tips for Taking Care of Your Pet

9. Bullfrog


Even when they appear to be sleeping, bullfrogs remain aware and respond to stimuli as if they are awake. However, these frogs enter a condition of brumation each year, which some people regard as binge napping after not sleeping. They appear to “rest” for the rest of the months but never attain the inactivity or profound slumber of sleep.

This active resting time was identified in a 1967 study and is frequently cited as proof that bullfrogs do not require sleep. Scientists now challenge this and desire additional research to fully understand bullfrog resting periods and how they survive until brumation.

10. Bats


Bats should be included on any list of animals that do not sleep like humans. To sleep, bats hang upside down by their clawed feet. They may dangle from a tree branch, the cave ceiling, or a region beneath a home’s eaves. But, after falling asleep, do they ever tumble to the ground?

No, it does not. Particular tendons in the bats’ feet keep them from falling asleep. When a bat hangs from a limb, the tendons in its feet secure it. As a result, the bat can remain securely hung in the air for hours. When it awakens, its tendons untangle, and it takes flight.

Bats sleep in groups or colonies to protect themselves from predators. For warmth, they also sleep in a colony.

11. Bluefish


Bluefish, also called snapper or tailor, are a species that moves along the U.S. Atlantic coast with the seasons. During their travel times, most wild fish will stop sleeping. Also, even when bluefish look like sleeping, they continuously swim and react to their surroundings.

12. Sloths


Sloths like to sleep, which is not a secret. These animals sleep at least 15 hours a day, which puts them near the top of the list of animals that don’t sleep like you and me. They move very slowly when they aren’t sleeping. There are a few ways that these animals can sleep.

Some sloths sleep high up in a tree on a split branch. A branch that splits into two smaller ones is called a “fork.” The sloth’s back rests on the middle of a branch with two forks. This is how a sloth sleeps. It looks like it’s in a bed.

Some sloths sleep upside down from a branch of a tree. With the help of their long claws, they can hang safely from a branch.

13. Flamingos


This brightly colored bird can stand on one foot while awake, which we know. But when it’s time to sleep, what does it do?

Flamingos sleep standing on one leg! These birds bend their long necks to get their beaks into the feathers on their backs. Even though these birds look entirely asleep, they are not. This bird is sleeping, but half of its brain is still awake and aware of its surroundings. This is how a flamingo keeps enemies like pythons and vultures from being able to catch it entirely off guard.

Scientists haven’t concluded why the bird stands on one leg while it sleeps.

14. Ducks

Get your things in order. Have you heard that phrase before? People say it sometimes, but it comes from how ducks act. Ducks line up in a row on the edge of a pond, lake, or other body of water to sleep.
They stay close to each other to keep the group safe. Each duck turns its head around and buries its beak in its back feathers. If you look closely, you’ll see that this row of sleeping ducks has more going on than you might think.
Each duck at the end of the row has one eye closed and one open. This lets them take a short nap while watching for cats or foxes that might try to eat them. The ducks in the middle of the row close both eyes to sleep deeply. After a while, the ducks get up and move, which lets the ducks on the ends of the row move to the middle so they can get a good night’s sleep. Everyone gets a break when people work together.

15. Upside-Down Jellyfish


Let’s say that the idea of sleep is that your brain is not doing anything. If that’s the case, animals with no brains, like the upside-down jellyfish, can’t sleep. Instead of a brain, they have a network of sensors and limbs that help them find tiny sea creatures and zooplankton to eat.
But a study done in 2017 found that these jellyfish go into a state similar to sleeping. During these times, they are less active and take longer to react to things around them. So maybe these animals still need to rest even though they don’t have brains.

16. Meerkats


The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) lives in a desert in southwestern Africa. This animal’s body is less than 12 inches long and weighs about a pound. So they can stay safe from attackers, they live in groups called “gangs.” They not only live together but also sleep in big groups.
Before going to sleep, these small animals pile on each other. So, if a snake or an eagle comes into their home range, one meerkat can wake up the rest so they can hide. When it’s cold at night in the desert, meerkats also sleep in piles to stay warm.

17. Rhopalocera  (Butterflies)

Rhopalocera - Animals That Don't Sleep
Most insects, like butterflies, don’t sleep but go into a state called torpor. Torpor looks like sleep, but it’s when their body temperature drops and their heartbeat slows down. They also hang upside down from twigs or leaves or rest with their eyes open among the plants.

18. Walrus


People often think of walruses as lazy and sleepy, but these enormous animals can easily stay awake for 84 hours. They will mostly swim and look for food during these hours. But when it hasn’t slept for a long time, the walrus will make up for it with a long nap, which it does in an exciting way.
Walruses can sleep in the water without dying because they have air sacs of muscles near their throats. The air sacs can hold up to 13 gallons of air and keep their heads above the water even when they sleep.

19. Badger


Badgers are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of many due to their distinctive black and white striped faces and sturdy, compact physiques. Badgers, members of the Mustelidae family, are fascinating creatures that share lineage with notable animals such as otters, weasels, and wolverines. These creatures are further classified into various species, including the American badger, the European badger, the honey badger, and several others.
Badgers are primarily nocturnal creatures, implying they are more active at night. During the day, these creatures retreat to their cozy burrows, which they skillfully dig using their powerful forelimbs and razor-sharp claws. Burrows, also known as setts, can be surprisingly intricate, boasting numerous chambers and entrances. These subterranean dwellings have the potential to house multiple generations of animals.

20. Tilapia

Tilapia - Animals That Don't Sleep
Fish also sleep differently when they are taking care of their young or right after they are born. Tilapia, these fish are known to stay awake and busy for the first 22 weeks after birth. Scientists have seen adults relax in a way that looks like sleep, but this doesn’t happen with kids.

21. Bobcat

The Bobcat is a wild cat species found throughout the United States, Mexico, and southern Canada. It is one of North America’s most common wild cats, with a population estimated at around 2.3 to 3.5 million in the United States alone. Here are some interesting facts about the Bobcat:
It is named after its short, “bobbed” tail. Its coat is spotted and ranges in color from orange-red to dark grey. It is an excellent climber and sprinter, capable of reaching speeds up to 30mph. Its most common prey is cottontails. It is around twice the size of a domestic cat and slightly smaller than the Canada lynx, with a maximum weight of 37.5 lbs for males and 26.5 kg for females.

22. Cougar

Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are a species of large cats found throughout North and South America. They have many names, with over 40 in English alone, reflecting regional dialects and language differences. While cougars were once thought to have disappeared from Wisconsin, they have since been reported in the state, with recent sightings confirmed by local biologists.
However, there is no evidence that cougars are currently breeding in Wisconsin; transient male cougars are believed to be dispersing from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Overall, cougars are fascinating creatures that have adapted to live in various environments.

23. Firefly

Firefly - Animals That Don't Sleep
Fireflies are fascinating insects that capture our awe. Here are some interesting facts about these luminous insects:
Fireflies are beetles and not flies. The light they emit is called bioluminescence and is produced when oxygen is combined with a substance called luciferin in the presence of an enzyme called luciferase. There are around 2,000 species of fireflies in the world. Fireflies use their light to communicate with each other, attracting potential mates and warning predators of their poisonous nature. 
The light pattern of fireflies is unique to each species, which helps them recognize potential mates and distinguish themselves from other species. Fireflies spend most of their lives underground or in the water as larvae before metamorphosing into adults.
Fireflies are essential to the ecosystem, serving as predators and prey and helping pollinate plants. Unfortunately, habitat loss, pollution, and pesticides have threatened the populations of fireflies worldwide. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve these valuable insects.

24. Jaguar

Jaguars are the largest cat species found in North and South America. They are known for their distinctive yellow-orange coat with black spots called rosettes. Here are some interesting facts about jaguars:
They are excellent swimmers and can occasionally be found near bodies of water. Jaguars have the most vital bite force of any big cat, capable of crushing the skull of its prey. They are apex predators and are considered crucial to their ecosystems as they help regulate population levels of prey species.
Historically, jaguars were found throughout the Americas, from the southwestern United States to Argentina. However, their habitat has been greatly reduced, and they now only inhabit a fraction of their former range. In some indigenous cultures, jaguars are revered as spiritual creatures and are believed to have supernatural powers.

25. Leopard

Leopard - Animals That Don't Sleep
Leopards are large cats that are native to Africa and Asia, with pale yellowish to dark golden fur with dark spots grouped in rosettes. They are a skilled predator, mainly hunting at night and relying on their spotted pattern for camouflage as they stalk and ambush their prey.
Leopards are also known for their incredible strength and agility and ability to haul their kills into the trees’ safety. However, many of their populations are endangered, especially outside of Africa, and efforts are being made to protect these majestic animals.

Some Animal Can Stay Awake And Sleep (At the Same Time)

This is called sleeping in one half of the brain. “Asymmetric slow-wave sleep” is another name for it. But it’s not sleeping in the way we usually think of it.
It’s a very unusual kind of sleep in which one part of the brain stays awake while the other sleeps. As we’ve seen, this is something that big sea animals like dolphins and whales do.
The animals use half of their brains to sleep while the other half helps them find their way, move, and keep an eye out for danger. They can close one eye and keep the other one open because of the way they sleep.
They have to keep one eye open to find their way. This is a pretty cool way to sleep that we see in animals that don’t live in water. This is also how some land animals and some types of birds sleep.

Final Words

Sleep has been linked to health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and weight gain. Marie de Manacéne was one of the first female doctors in Russia. She did the first experiment on animals to see what would happen if they didn’t get enough sleep. After a few days, the puppies died. More trials with sleep deprivation have shown the same fatal results, but the real reason why people die is still unknown.

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