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14 Animals That Sleep During the Day (Pictures)

While some animals wake up as the sun appears and stay active all day long, there are also many animals that sleep during the day, retreating to their cozy dens and burrows to enjoy a proper rest. Most of these animals are nocturnal, which means they are active at night, and they have many interesting features that allow them to see in the dark. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the animals that take their rest while the sun is awake and burst into their active behavior as soon as darkness falls.

14 Animals that sleep during the day

1. Great horned owl

Great horned owl
Great horned owl | Image by Mark Edwards from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

You may have the opportunity to spot the Great Horned Owl, also known as the Tiger Owl, through the forests of America. Because of their coloring, which helps them blend in well with the trees where they live, owls are very good at hiding in their natural surroundings and remaining undetected by predators. They’re also nocturnal animals, which means that these species sleep during the day, roost in trees, and only come out to hunt at night. 

2. Red foxes

Red fox
Red fox | Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

The red fox, the largest of the true foxes found in the entire Northern Hemisphere, is one of the animals that sleep during the day. They can be found in various ecosystems, including forests, tundras, prairies, deserts, and mountains.

When red foxes sleep, they do so in open areas, preferably in areas that are hidden by bushes, trees, or tall grass. However, when the weather is bad, these species dig their own burrows to shelter themselves. 

3. Raccoons

Raccoon looking a bit sleepy
Raccoon looking a bit sleepy | image by Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor

If you’re curious about why raccoons tend to raid your garbage, crops, or pet food left outdoors at night, they’re typically asleep during the day. These animals inhabit moist woodland areas but are incredibly adaptable and can thrive in various habitats, even those close to humans. You can find them resting in the dens of trees, but they’ll also sleep in caves, burrows, or any other location, providing them security and comfort. 

4. Common vampire bat

Vampire Bat
Vampire Bat | image by Uwe Schmidt via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Desmodus rotundus

The common vampire bat earns its name by primarily feeding on the blood of mammals. Vampire bats, being nocturnal creatures, use echolocation to locate their prey even in the darkness. Moreover, they display protectiveness towards their host, ensuring that no other vampire bats will feed on them.

You can see them gathering in the dark caves during the day to sleep, then emerging during the darkest part of the night to hunt. 

5. Chinese pangolin

Chinese Pangolin on grass
Chinese Pangolin on grass | image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Manis pentadactyla

Chinese pangolins typically spend their daytimes sleeping in their cozy burrows. These animals have a diet of insects, with a particular preference for termites and ants, and use their long, sticky tongues to catch the ants from their mounds.

You might also know them as shy creatures that move very slowly. When threatened by a predator, they’ll roll into a ball and use their scales as a type of armor to defend themselves.

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6. Hedgehog

Sleeping hedgehog
Sleeping hedgehog | image by Daniel Wehner via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Erinaceus europaeus

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that spend the day slumbering in a constructed nest in dense undergrowth, beneath a shed, in piles of leaves, or even in unlit bonfires.

They’re not territorial animals and prefer to live alone; these hedgehogs only congregate during mating season, when females dominate prime feeding sites.

7. Sugar gliders

Sugar glider
Sugar glider | image by patrickkavanagh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Petaurus breviceps

Sugar gliders, also known as gliding opossums, are nocturnal animals that prefer to sleep during the day. They’re omnivores that, during the winter season, consume acacia gum, eucalyptus sap, manna, and honeydew; however, during the summer season, sugar gliders tend to consume more insects as their primary food source.

During the day, sugar gliders will spend anywhere from 12 to 15 hours sleeping in nests made of leaves that are constructed in the hollows of trees. 

8. Koalas

Sleeping Koala
Sleeping Koala | Image by PixelAnarchy from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus

With a minimum sleep requirement of twenty hours per day, koalas are among the animals you might notice sleeping more than others during the day.

Their stout, tailless bodies, large heads, round ears, and spoon-shaped noses make them easy to identify, and their closest living relatives are wombats. Because they only eat eucalyptus leaves, their diet provides them with a limited amount of energy, so koalas require more sleep to fuel their bodies. 

9. Leopards

Leopard sleeping
Leopard sleeping | image by Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Panthera pardus

The leopard is a large cat with fur ranging in color from light yellowish to dark golden and is covered in spots arranged in rosettes, making them one of the animals that’s easy to recognize.

These big cats stay active from dusk until dawn and find rest in thickets, among rocks, or on tree branches during the day. Since leopards are carnivores, they primarily hunt hooved mammals like impala, duikers, and bushbucks. 

10. Aardvark

Aardvark sleeping
Aardvark sleeping | image by Ewen Roberts via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer

The Aardvark is one of those animals that has a unique appearance, having long, sticky tongues and strong claws that it uses to dig up termite mounds and ant nests. You can spot these creatures in various habitats, including savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and bush-lands, where numerous species of ants and termites thrive.

These solitary animals sleep in their burrows curled up in a ball for protection from potential predators, and you may occasionally see some of them sleeping in an excavated ant nest as well. 

11. Gray wolf

Gray wolf sleeping
Gray wolf sleeping | image by Andres Alvarado via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Canis lupus

With weights ranging from 120 to 180 pounds, gray wolves are the biggest members of the dog family. The coloration of these animals varies depending on where they live. Some of them have pure white fur, while others have a blend of gray, brown, cinnamon, and black colors.

These animals primarily hunt at night, often in packs during the winter, but as summer arrives, they transition to hunting individually. 

12. Badger

American badger sleeping
American badger sleeping | image by Cburnett via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Taxidea taxus

American badgers are carnivorous animals that use their strong forelimbs to dig underground and access the burrows of their prey. These creatures are usually active at night, but some of them can change their sleeping habits and may be spotted foraging during the day, especially in areas without human presence. Sometimes, you might also catch a glimpse of them hunting alongside coyotes, as they both benefit from each other’s presence in this partnership. 

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13. Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil | Image by Penny from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Sarcophilus harrisii

Tasmanian devils, as their name suggests, are creatures exclusive to Tasmania. These adorable animals make their homes in hollow logs, caves, or burrows. These species, known as the largest carnivorous marsupials in the world, enjoy their own company and aren’t territorial.

However, if someone tries to take their food, they’ll interact aggressively by using vocalizations such as growls, screeches, and vibratos. 

14. Skunks

Striped skunk
Striped skunk | image by Dan Dzurisin via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Mephitis mephitis

You’ll often come across skunks in human-modified environments. Skunks are nocturnal hunters who search for food at night and then retreat to their dens to sleep by morning.

You might catch them resting in the underground abandoned burrows of other animals, but they can also dig their own burrows when necessary.

They’re docile creatures but won’t hesitate to use their anal scent glands to release a fluid spray that can cause nausea, intense pain, and temporary blindness to anyone threatening them.