Where Do Penguins Sleep?

There are many interesting facts and information about the penguins which make us eager to know more about their suspicious life. The way these birds live, eat, swim, hunt and sleep is entirely different from the other birds which makes them different too. Some people generally asked that where do penguins sleep? Do they sleep on the water or the surface or is there any particular place where they take a nap?

Sleeping Mother Penguin with baby
Sleeping Mother Penguin with baby

The sleeping patterns of the penguins are quite unusual. They don’t sleep like us in the night for several hours. They take short naps in between the day or during the evening. Penguins possess an exceptional skill to sleep in the water or while standing up. On some occasions, they sleep with their beaks popped-in below their wings.

The sleep of the penguins is entirely different from all the birds that live on earth. That is why people are more curious to know about their sleep and where they do sleep. If you also want to know the detail answer to this question then, you need to read the below info that we have gathered after doing an extensive study and research.

So, let’s begin!

Where Do Penguins Sleep?

As you are aware that penguins are the aquatic birds that belong to the region of the Southern hemisphere. These birds spend their maximum time standing up, but they also lie down for sleeping sometimes. The different species of the penguins have variable periods and methods of sleeping. Several penguins love to enjoy only short naps.

Fairy penguins, as well as some other species of the penguins, go to the coastline every night to take a nap for a few hours in tiny holes. Further species of these birds spend maximum time at the ocean, existing up to nine months or additional each year without staying at the shoreline. They sleep inside the water as they love to spend more time in the ocean.

Group of Penguins sleeping near shore
Group of Penguins sleeping near shore

Now, you must be wondering that how penguins can manage to sleep in the water. Are we right?

Well! The Penguins possess a white and black coloring pattern called as counter-shading that they utilize to cover-up themselves inside the water. Their structure is well reformed to live at sea. The white trunk of the penguins merges perfectly with the bright water surface, while their dark back unifies with the gobble blackness underneath them. This camouflage benefits them in evading the predators and for catching the prey. The legs of the birds located at the rear of their bodies for maintaining a straight position on the ground.

Do Penguins Sleep for More Extended Hours like Other Animals?

Dissimilar to the other animals, penguins under no circumstances fall asleep. The reason behind such thing is that they are a frequent target for predators like Galapagos sharks and leopard seals. Thus they have to stay attentive and vigilant continuously.

Consequently, instead of going into a deep nap which other animals do commonly, penguins have numerous short naps in the whole day. Generally, the rests of the penguins remain only for a few minutes. For extra safety, penguins might usually found napping in groups. When they sleep together, they not only get security but also provide extra warmness for the already well-shielded species of the bird.

List of Few Essential Places Where Penguins Sleep

The following are the few necessary and frequent places where you can find the penguins sleeping or taking a short nap:

1) Napping in the Ocean

Most commonly it has been observed that penguins sleep on the land only as you can find them on the sea for nine months. But according to new research, the penguins also sleep when they are inside the ocean. Even though the time when the penguins get their naps varies, numerous researchers consider that the early evening or late afternoon is the typical time for the birds to get a nap, as at this time they have completed their last meal of the day. Similar to humans, these aquatic animals relished a more quiet sleep when their stomachs filled completely.

2) Sleeping in the Standing position

Numerous people think that all the species of penguins sleep in the standing position, but, this is not inevitably correct. Only the emperor penguins are the one among the 17 diverse species of penguins who most commonly seen in standing position. Even though, it possibly does not look simple to us. But actually, there is a very logical purpose for this exceptional position of sleeping. While standing up the Emperor Penguin who exists in a freezing environment, doesn’t encounter with the icy surface. Instead, merely its well-protected feet are exposed to the severe ice. The Penguins essentially put their load on their heels, so that the toes don’t touch the surface. You can also call it one more clever way to keep their body warm. It also puts its break below its wing to preserve its body heat.

As soon as penguins have eggs, they try to keep them warm and safe from the cold and for this purpose they sometimes have to sleep standing up orget gather together in crowds to remain warmer during the sleep. During their sleep, the birds keep their tails out as a measure to preserve extra body warmth. During the molting time of the penguins, they get more sleep than earlier for conserving more energy, as they do not eat more food at that time.

3) Sleeping on their Belly

Some species of the penguins like king penguins and the big size penguins sleep on their bell while the small size penguins generally sleep in their holes. You will be surprised to know that penguins not only sleep on their belly but walk over it too. This procedure is known as Toboggan. Owing to the tiny legs and webbed feet, they can’t walk easily as this need a lot of energy. Hence, to reserve their strengths, they glide on their bellies and push the body with their feet.

How Much Time Does a Penguin Sleep?

Unlike to humans, the Penguins don’t sleep for the longest time, but they take numerous small naps. It keeps them safe from the physical harm by the predators like leopards seal and Galapagos Shark. Penguins eat less amount of food when they are sleeping. Thus, if circumstances allow them to sleep without fear, they (mainly Emperor Penguins) might sleep for around 20 hours or in fact for 24 hours also.

What Is the Most Excellent Environment for Penguins to Get Their Sleep?

The most excellent environment for the penguins to get their sleep is the time when they don’t have any fear about the danger coming upon them. That is why the penguins prefer to take small naps instead of sleeping for more extended hours. The environment favorable to their sleep has to be a little warm. They mostly sleep while standing up position for getting more warmth.

At What Time Do Penguins Sleep?

Penguins are different from human, so they don’t sleep during the night. They have their nap at various times during the whole day. They love to take a nap with their stomach full. Generally, after having the meal, they like to sleep. Certain species of the penguins sleep for around 20 hours in a day, and the Emperor Penguin may sleep for 20 to 24 hours in a day if get an appropriate environment.


Whenever you get to see the pictures of the penguins or see them in reality, most of you find them standing near the sea or on the ice. But you can’t see them sleeping on maximum occasions.

But we hope that after reading the above information now you know that where do penguins sleep actually. These aquatic animals can sleep in the ocean, on the water surface, while standing up or on the belly. But they don’t prefer to sleep for the longest time due to the threat of their predators. They love to take small naps in groups preferably. Some penguins with the large bodies can take longer sleep around 20 to 24 hours if they get a suitable environment. But that is a rare possibility.

Have you ever get a chance to see a penguin sleeping? How was it sleeping? Then, please share your thoughts and experiences on that visits.

Besides this, if you have any useful info about the sleeping pattern of the penguins then also you can write to us about it. We will feel happy to hear from you.






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I got interested in penguins from a young age and as I grew I realized that penguins are such fascinating birds. I made it a mission to create a website where all information about penguins could be accessed in an easy to read format.

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