• The reason that I have found that some animals "sleep standing" is usually because of their weight. Most animals that "sleep while standing" are larger animals such as cows. People speak of going "cow tipping" when it reality it is impossible. Because the cows do not acutally "sleep standing". You will hardly ever see a larger animal like this asleep lying down because they sleep in only 5-10 minute incriments. If they sleep lying down for too long then their weight will cause them to break a rib. I saw this on the discovery channel and hope my answer is very usfull to you!
  • Some of the four-legged animals are too big to get up. So it's easier to stand and sleep for them. Either that or their just...Wierd.
  • I am not an expert on cows but I did grow up on a farm. I know many winter mornigs (most really) when I would go out to the barn and have to gather the herd for milking. They were all laying down - not on their sides but with legs bent under themselves (think Chirstmas manger sceens) I never heard of one breaking a rib from sleeping - it just does not make sense. Cattle can rest standing up - but look at any herd in the field and you will see any number lying down. I really don't think they "follow any 10 min or your ribs will break" rule either. I assume they usually rest standing as an old defense from way back when in the wild when they had to be ready to move quickly when a large hungry meat eating animal might come walking down the path. If you ever saw a cow work to get up from a lying position - it is not graceful or quick.
  • Some four legged animals sleep standing in case the need to flee or attack arises. Most will sleep laying down if they feel safe and comfortable. With herds, like wild horses, the leader will stand gaurd allowing the others to relax. The sleep they usually get while standing is not as restorative as if laying.
  • The reason is simple : it´s more comfortable for them. Take the horse for example, lying down is not a good posture for them, their long legs don´t fold properly (unlike the shorter legged cows), their hooves are sharp and hard so if the horse wants to lie it has to do so on it´s side. This puts exessive strain on the lungs and ribs, because it´s a heavy animal (foals are exempt). Now standing up, that´s a whole different ballgame. Horses are made to stand, the joints in their legs can lock in such a way that there is minimal strain on the muscles and sinews and in this posision they can sleep, it´s easier for them. And have you ever noticed that when a horse is stationary one of it´s hooves is often bent and slightly off the ground? Well they´re resting that leg while carrying they´re weight on the other three, alternating between legs. The raised hoof also locks into place while it is held aloft, thereby resting the entire leg. This behavior is quite subconscious, similar to when we shift our weight from one leg to the other, when standing for long periods. Theoretically a horse can go through it´s entire adult life standing up. The same goes for many other hooved, long-legged and/or heavy animals (such as elephants), lying down simply isn´t an option, if they want to be comfortable, nature didn´t make them that way.
  • The animals which sleep standing up are all grazers, and the reason they sleep standing up has a lot to do with simple anatomy. Grazing quadrupeds do not have a full diaphragm like we do, that separates their guts entirely from their lungs -- and they have an awful lot of gut, because you need that length of gut to break down the insoluble cellulose in what they eat. So this gigantic bag of guts just kind of hangs there inside the skin, protected by the ribs. Also, in many animals the lungs are attached directly to the ribs and breathing *must* involve motion of the ribs. Now, when the animal lies down, this compresses everything: the ribs get squished in along where they lie, and the guts get squished up inside them, and the guts tend to squish up around the other organs -- including the lungs, which can't move as much as normal anyway and which also put further pressure on the heart. The smaller the animal is, the less this is a problem; the less overall weight and compression there is. This is why calves and foals are often to be found lying down, where adult horses and cattle aren't. However, many "medium sized" grazers, like cattle, *can* lie down if they want to -- it is just not comfortable, and as several other people have pointed out here, there are issues of leg length and the time it would take for them to get up if they were attacked by a predator, as well, so they only lie down if they are ill, extremely tired, and/or feeling perfectly safe. However when you get to the very large animals, like elephants, it becomes even more of a problem. It goes far beyond awkwardness -- an adult elephant will actually die if it lies down for more than a few hours, as the weight of the gut pressing up against the lungs eventually puts too much strain on them and they smother.
  • not sure, didnt know they did that

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