How Do Giraffes Sleep?

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Like all animals, giraffes prefer to sleep lying down. Unfortunately, their long necks make it awkward for them to do so, and that makes them vulnerable to predators. The towering herbivores, which can grow to a height of six meters (20 feet), compensate by sometimes sleeping in a standing position.

Frequent Short Naps

  • People used to believe that giraffes never sleep; this was disproven by researchers in the 1950s. They found that giraffes sleep both lying on the ground and standing. They sleep for short periods that last from two and a half to six minutes, and they get a total of about four and a half hours of sleep in every 24-hour period. When a giraffe lies down, it rests its head on its hindquarters, much like a dog or cat does; its neck makes a long arc that extends over its body. It can also sleep in a reclining position with its neck straight and its head up.

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  • Photo Credit Akadiusz Iwanicki/Hemera/Getty Images
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