Just looking at these slumbering giraffes is enough to give you a crick in the neck – which is why the world’s tallest animals don’t often stop to sleep.
Despite their height, giraffes actually have the shortest sleep requirement of all mammals, surviving on an average of half an hour a day.
When they do settle to sleep, it’s for minutes at a time, because of the risks to their wellbeing in the wild.
How do they sleep?
As babies, giraffes lower themselves to the ground, tuck their legs beneath their bodies and often rest their heads on their back.
Adults often follow a similar style and sleep like this too, but only for minutes at a time. Varying their position, adults can sleep fully standing in a state of half-sleep. Which keeps them alert for incoming predators.
In captivity, the giraffe sleeps intermittently around 4.6 hours per day, mostly at night. It usually sleeps lying down, however, standing sleeps have been recorded, particularly in older individuals.
Males can grow up to 18 feet tall, while females can reach 14 feet and their calves, are born six feet tall.
As a prey animal, the evolution of the giraffe’s habits means that they rarely lie down, as it’s difficult for them to get up again.
Sleeping and drinking water both cause problems for the animals because their long necks are too short to reach the ground.
To drink they must spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position that makes them vulnerable to predators like Africa’s big cats.
As a result, they get most of their water from the plants that they eat, and only need to drink water every few days.