Have you ever wondered how giraffes — notoriously gangly animals — sleep?
If not, well, you’re in for a treat. When it all comes down to it, they look entirely awkward standing up, so finding a comfortable sleeping position must be a huge struggle. Lucky for you, we did some digging to find out just how these long-necked creatures rest their heads at night.
But first, some context: Consider cats — other than when they’re young, you almost never see a feline sleeping on its back, with all four paws in the air. Typically, they’ll sleep curled up in a ball (thereby protecting their vital organs and conserving warmth) or with their legs tucked neatly under them. Both of these positions allow them to get to their feet quickly in case of sudden danger.
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It’s the same basic concept with giraffes. Lying down, even for a few minutes, is a luxury they often can’t afford. Think of how much time it’d take for them to untangle those long, spindly legs and unwieldy neck, with a pride of lions nipping at their heels.
It’s really more trouble than it’s worth, so they mostly sleep standing up. Fortunately, giraffes require the least amount of sleep out of any in the animal kingdom — just 30 minutes per night.
But it’s a different story for baby giraffes. The little ones are secure in the knowledge that the adults have their backs (or maybe they’re just too young to know actual danger lurks out there), so they can afford some downtime…
After easing themselves to the ground, they curl their necks around and down, so that their heads rest on their thighs.
Isn’t this too adorable?!
Did you know that giraffes have just seven vertebrae in their necks — the same number as humans? Or that as long as a giraffe’s neck is, it’s still shorter than their legs?
Or that as long as a giraffe’s neck is, it’s still shorter than their legs?
Must be nice to have your own built-in pillow!
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