Giraffes are one of the most unique animals on the planet, but what about their sleep habits? In the wild, giraffes only sleep for about 40 minutes a day in short bursts. This is because they have to be on their toes when out in the open, watching for predators. But in captivity, giraffes can let their guard down and take some naps.
They can doze while standing up, but they also rest with their legs tucked under them and their heads resting on their rump. This is called recumbent sleep, and it’s most common in baby giraffes. Giraffes can even ruminate while they’re in this position, chewing on partially digested food.
In the wild, however, giraffes rarely doze in this recumbent position. That’s because laying down would expose them to danger and make it difficult for them to run away. If they’re a prey animal, it’s better to stay upright and keep their distance from lions, hyenas, or other large carnivores.
Even if a giraffe isn’t in immediate danger, they still need to be on their feet during the night. They’re diurnal, so they’re awake during the day and moving around at night.