How do giraffes sleep?

A frequent question asked of keepers is do giraffes lie down to sleep?

kubwa_lying_downAnd the answer is … yes, our three Rothschild giraffes do sleep lying down!

But it is rare for giraffes in the wild to snooze on the ground, due to predatory dangers, as they need to be on their feet to ensure a speedy getaway.

Ungulates Team Leader, Jay Haywood, said: “In captivity there is no danger, so Kubwa, Josie and Mia can lie down and relax.

“We make up big comfy straw beds, using about five bales of hay for each of them every day, which they love snuggling into.”

And by watching CCTV footage recorded during the night, keepers can observe exactly what the trio get up to.

“They all lie down for a few hours at a time during the night, although they don’t actually sleep for very long, as they have to keep getting up to keep their circulation moving,” added Jay.

The long-legged species also have a very precise method of lying down, as it’s not so easy reaching the floor when you’re around five metres tall!

Jay explained: “From a standing position they drop their front legs first, followed by their bottom.

“They then stick out one of their back legs to the side, so they can keep balanced, while angling their long necks to the same side, before dropping to the floor.

“To get back up again they just raise their bottom, flick their neck up and literally just pop straight up. It’s done very fast so they get on their feet immediately. It’s fascinating to watch.”