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When and where do animals sleep?

Animals sleep at different times of day.  Like humans, many animals are “diurnal.”  They are more active during the day and get more sleep at night.  Examples include squirrels and bears.

Other animals are “nocturnal.”  They tend to sleep during the day and are active at night.  Examples include raccoons, opossums and owls.

Some animals are “crepuscular.”  They are more active at twilight as the sun is setting or just before dawn when the sun rises.  A common example is the deer.

Animals also sleep in a variety of places.  Every one of the Earth’s diverse biomes provides a home where many animals can live and sleep. A biome is a large region of plants and animals.  Examples include forests, deserts, grasslands and wetlands.  Within these biomes, animals are sleeping on land, on and in the water, and in trees. 

An animal that feels safe may sleep out in the open.  For example, housecats and dogs can be seen sleeping everywhere.  And a large predator like the lion sleeps wherever it wants.

But many animals prefer to sleep in a hidden location.  It gives them shelter from rain, wind, snow and heat.  It also provides protection from predators.

For example, bats may sleep in a cave.  Birds may sleep in dense shrubbery or in the hole of a tree.  A three-toed sloth sleeps high up in the canopy of the rainforest.  A fox may sleep in the shelter of a den.  And a platypus sleeps in a long riverbank burrow. 

The Australian wombat is another animal that sleeps in long, deep burrows.  Watch this video from the BBC to see what it feels like to crawl down the burrow of a wombat: