If you like your beauty sleep and lazy Sundays, well, you better hope that you are not a giraffe. Giraffes are one of the only mammals that you will probably never catch sleeping. This is because despite being the tallest animal on the whole planet, they have the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal. The giraffe is known to sleep just 30 minutes per day.
The worst part is when they do sleep it is only for a couple of minutes at a time. In fact up until the 1950s, researchers even went so far as arguing that the giraffe does not sleep at all. They put forth the argument that giraffes do not lie down at all, and therefore, they must not sleep.
When it comes to the answer, it simply makes a lot of sense. The giraffe is a prey animal, meaning it is constantly being hunted by tigers, lions and other big cats or packs of wild dogs. However, being the tallest animal on the planet means it is quite difficult to lie down and get up. A giraffe cannot get up quickly if it does decide to lie down. It poses a problem when it comes to sleeping, a long nap or sleep where the giraffe lounges in the sun would be an extreme liability. The lion for example, an apex predator of Africa, will rest up to 20 hours a day. Sure this is because they are not being hunted, but cats can also immediately spring into action if needed.
Another problem is drinking water, usually, a giraffe neck is still too short to reach the ground. Meaning they need to constantly be mulching plants to ensure they intake enough water each day, again, it is another logical reason why giraffes should not be sleeping. After all when it comes to mother nature, it is survival of the fittest.
Some pictures are roaming the internet of giraffes in funny positions that lie on the ground or wrap their neck in all strange ways on the ground. But if you look closely and study the surroundings of the photo, you will notice that all of these pictures have been taken in enclosed areas. This means they are giraffes in captivity, in a zoo or a safari, undoubtedly somewhere where the giraffe’s natural behaviour may have slightly changed due to feeling relatively safe. In the wild a giraffe has never been seen sleeping more than 5 minutes at a time.
At full stride a giraffe can run up to 35 miles per hour, which means they are not an easy target, but if they are lying down on the ground then well the predator would be catching them sleeping – so to speak.