Do Camels Sleep? (How, Where, And How Much?)

To feel well-rested and have more energy, mammals need to sleep.

Different creatures need different amounts of sleep, different places to sleep, and different “positions” to sleep in.

Some sleep while standing, some laying down, and some even keep their eyes semi-open while dozing off.

But what about camels? Do camels sleep? And how do they do it?

camel sleeping on sand

Do Camels Sleep?

Yes, camels do sleep. Like almost all members of the mammalian group, camels need to spend some time each day hibernating in order to properly function. 

Unlike some other animals, camels do not go into full hibernation during winter months, nor estivation during summer ones.

How Do Camels Sleep?

Most camels sleep in a kneeling position, with legs folded under their body and their head and neck resting on the ground. Other members of the Camelidae family like to stretch and sleep with their front legs spread in front. They have thick calluses on their chest and leg joints, to prevent camel from burning on hot sand.

Getting into such a sleeping position can be a tricky task. 

First, a camel needs to bend one knee and put it on the ground and follow that immediately with the second.

Then the back legs bend until their pads touch the ground and most of the weight gets put on the chest. 

Finally, the neck and the head are placed on the ground.

The areas that are in contact with the ground, e.g. bent knees, elbows, hocks, and chest are covered with thick callous pads. 

That allows the camels to rest for long periods in the same position with no strain on the body.

Do Camels Sleep Standing Up?

To get the most accurate answer to the question of whether camels sleep standing up, we asked people that work with camels every day, zookeepers. The first to help us was Belgrade Zoo.

(Denver Zoo, if you are reading this, we are slightly disappointed for ignoring us).

And the answer we got was interesting.

According to zookeepers, camels can sleep standing up. The reason they do it in the wild is to help them stay safe from predators. 

Sleeping while standing would give them a better chance to react to sounds of animals preying on them.

Do Camels Sleep On Their Side?

Again, we turned to our trusty advisors, the zookeepers about this question as well.

Yes, camels can sleep on their side, but you will not find most of them sleeping like that. 

camel sleeping on its side in the desert
Camel sleeping on its side in the desert

Usually, camels sleep with legs under their chest and head on the ground, as we previously explained.


Did you know? This might not be a very known fact, but there is a camel that can swim! Read more about the swimming camels of Kutch.


How Long Do Camels Sleep?

When it comes to time spent hibernating, camels usually sleep 6 to 7 hours, going into the so-called sleep for short intervals. 

That sleep can be split into multiple rest periods throughout the day, depending on the camel species, location, and its daily dynamics.

Camel’s close relatives, llamas, sleep a few hours longer, 8-10h.

Are Camels Nocturnal?

First, let’s explain what diurnal and nocturnal mean, in case you didn’t know.

  • Diurnal animals are active during the daytime and sleep during nighttime. 
  • Nocturnal, on the other hand, means that the animals are most active during the night. 

So if you are wondering do camels sleep at night, the answer is: 

Yes, camels are diurnal animals; they are active during the day and sleep during the night.

Where Do Camels Sleep?

When in wild, camels usually sleep in the open. When they are among humans, camel herds can sleep inside the circle of human tents. 

During the summer months, at dawn, camels are taken out to pastures to browse the vegetation. Around the middle of the morning, after they get full, camels are brought back to the campsite to nap and rest. 

In the afternoon, they are again taken back to the grassland for another meal. After getting full, camels are allowed to sleep. Before the sunset, they are taken back to the camp to sleep until morning. 

During the winter months, they are taken to pastures in the morning and left to graze the entire day. When the night comes, they are taken back to the campsite to sleep by their owner’s tent, protected with walls of mud and canework fences from the desert winds.

Conclusion

Camels, like other mammals, need to sleep. Around 6 or 7 hours a day is how much typically a camel will sleep. 

They are diurnal animals that sleep during the night, usually with front and back legs bent and head and neck resting on the ground.

We hope you enjoyed our article and that now you know the answer to: do camels sleep.

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