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The 10 Animals that Sleep the Most

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Some animals sleep very little, such as the giraffe, but others can sleep up to 22 hours a day.
The 10 Animals that Sleep the Most
Last update: 06 June, 2023

Whether it’s to relax the mind, slow down the metabolism or reduce nutritional needs, sleep is always necessary for every species. The animals that sleep the most spend almost the whole day doing it, while others only sleep for a few hours.

Different animals within the same species sleep for different lengths of time, and this also depends on whether they’re in the wild or in captivity. Meet the 10 animals that sleep the most of all. Can you guess which will appear on our list?

1. Animals that sleep the most: Koalas are at the top of the tree!

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The koala is the animal that sleeps the most.

This tree-dwelling herbivorous marsupial is native to Australia and the only existing representative of the Phascolarctidae family. They sleep nearly the whole day – up to 22 hours a day, according to experts.

There are rumors that these herbivores get “high” on eucalyptus leaves, but this isn’t true, says the WWF. It’s because of the low nutrients in the leaves that koalas need to sleep more than most animals, as, in this way, they can conserve energy.

Experts state that this animal only devotes 120 minutes to other activities such as eating and grooming. It also sleeps quite simply because it loves it, and if you wake one up they can get quite angry!

2. Sloths

The folivorous, or phytophagous sloth is a mammal that lives in the humid jungles of Central and South America. The existing species are classified into two genera: the three-toed sloths (Bradypus, Bradypodidae) and the two-toed sloths (Choloepus, Megalonychidae).

This mammal sleeps about 20 hours a day in a tree. Its movements are very slow due to a very limited amount of energy that they only use when they have to actually do something active, such as climbing down the tree to do their necessities, burying its droppings, or looking for another tree to continue sleeping!

3. Ferrets

This small domesticated mustelid has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. If handled well by people from an early age, ferrets can become social and learn to see humans as companions. The ferret sleeps about 20 hours a day and is most active in the evening, so it needs a safe place to rest.

4. The little brown bat

The little brown bat is the most widespread bat in the United States and Canada. Their average sleep time is 19 hours. In other words, they sleep 79% of the day.

According to the Ontario Wildlife Foundation, their extended sleep time is a way to conserve energy. Their rest may be in buildings, caves, trees, rocks and woodpiles, surrounded by a few or hundreds of their own kind.

5. Opossums

Although it looks like a giant rodent or shrew, the opossum isn’t related to these animals. It’s a marsupial mammal belonging to the didelphimorphs. 

It’s on our list of animals that sleep the most because it rests around 18 or 19 hours a day before it gets up to go and search for its daily food, which it has to do in its five active hours during the night, according to professional sources.

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6. Armadillos

Another of the animals that sleep the most, according to Sleep.org, is the famous armadillo. There are 21 species of this animal that on average spend up to 16 hours a day buried underground, probably sleeping. One study found that the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus ) sleeps an average of 77% of the day, or about 18.5 hours.

7. Tigers

Classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, the world population of the tiger is between 3062 and 3948 individuals, according to figures from 2015. India is now home to the largest number and the main causes of population decline are habitat destruction and poaching.

Tigers sleep for a long time – 18 to 20 hours a day – on rocks, in the grass, next to their prey, or wherever they feel the need to rest. Tigers don’t normally expend more energy than they need, because if they expended more energy they would need more food.

This feline always sleeps after hunting and eating, and also usually rests next to its prey to prevent other predators from taking its food.

8. Cats

Another of the animals that sleeps the most is another feline, the domestic cat. On average, cats can sleep between 13 and 16 hours a day, although they don’ always sleep deeply and spread their sleep out over several naps throughout the day.

9. Squirrels

Despite its energetic behavior and playful appearance, the squirrel spends most of its time sleeping. About 60% of their day is spent sleeping, which is equivalent to an average of almost 15 hours. However, this differs according to species and type.

10. Hamsters

Hamsters are very popular pets, and they usually sleep between 12 and 14 hours a day, but, unlike humans, it has polyphasic sleeping and waking patterns. This means that it sleeps several times, so these 12-14 hours are divided into smaller segments throughout the day.

Now that you know several of the animals that sleep the most, you’ll surely be interested to know about the hibernation that takes place in some species of warm-blooded animals, which spend the winter asleep to conserve their energy.

Would you like to find out which animals are at the other end of the scale? Find out what animals sleep the least in our specially selected article for you:

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Heraldo. (2018, 30 diciembre). ¿Sabes cuál es el animal más dormilón? heraldo.es. https://www.heraldo.es/noticias/sociedad/2018/11/30/sabes-cual-animal-mas-dormilon-1276511-310.html?autoref=true
  • Hypertension SEOUL. (2021, 8 enero). Animales que más duermen del planeta. https://www.ish2016.org/animales-que-mas-duermen-del-planeta/
  • Lahoz, B. (2018, 5 septiembre). Animales dormilones. Escuela de veterinaria. https://www.escuelaveterinariamasterd.es/blog/animales-dormilones
  • RSPCA. (s. f.). Ferrets – our pets. Recuperado 5 de octubre de 2021, de https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/ferrets
  • Sleep.org. (2021, 4 marzo). Animals that Sleep the Most. https://www.sleep.org/animals-that-sleep-the-most/
  • The Spruce Pets. (2021, 17 agosto). How Long Do Hamsters Sleep and What if They are Sleeping Longer?https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-long-do-hamsters-sleep-5195039
  • UW Faculty Web Server. (s. f.). Neuroscience for Kids – Animal Sleep. Recuperado 5 de octubre de 2021, de http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chasleep.html
  • WWF-Australia. (s. f.). 10 koala-ty facts about koalas. Recuperado 5 de octubre de 2021, de https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/10-interesting-facts-about-koalas#gs.cfdgmx

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.