It’s the season of bunnies, ducklings and baby chicks –– also known as Easter. From adults in bunny costumes to piles of animal-shaped candy, these animals really run the show. For more proof, look no further than the literal mascot of Easter, the Easter bunny.
The origin of the Easter bunny in America goes back to the 1700s when German immigrants brought the tradition of “Osterhase” or egg-laying to the states. To celebrate Easter and some incredible animals, we thought we would have some fun and share sleep facts about your favorite Easter animals.
1. Chickens Dream
Like humans and other mammals, chickens experience REM sleep. Dreams happen during REM sleep, so it stands to reason that chickens dream. Okay, we don’t know what they dream about. But if we had to guess, it’s likely vegetables and warming lights.
Unlike humans, chickens also experience Unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS). Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it; it’s a unique sleep type that’s limited to marine mammals and birds. During USWS sleep, one half of the brain is awake while the other half is asleep. Research suggests that this function is to allow the animal to detect predators.
2. Bunnies Sometimes Sleep With Their Eyes Open
This one is a couple of facts in one.
- Fact 1: Bunnies can sometimes sleep with their eyes open. Creepy, right? Evolutionarily it makes sense; rabbits developed this habit as a way to be on guard for predators.
- Fact 2: That poses a particular issue for domestic bunnies because bunnies are also grumpy when you wake them up. They have been known to be in a bad mood and even try to bite.
- Fact 3: Thankfully, bunnies also have favorite sleeping positions, just like us! If you’re worried about waking up a grumpy bunny who is sleeping with its eyes open, just pay attention to how it is sleeping. This might take a while and a bit of documentation to nail down your bunny’s sleeping positions.
3. Baby Chicks Can Fall Asleep Anywhere
Baby chicks fall asleep incredibly quickly –– one moment they’re standing, the next they are sleeping on the ground. They can also sleep standing up, but they might just be a little wobbly. Ducks have the unique ability to sleep on the water. While that may have sparked the phrase “sitting ducks,” sleeping on the water is actually one important way ducks detect danger.
4. Ducklings Have An “Egg Tooth”
We all know that ducklings and chickens hatch, but do you know how? Their claws and beaks are not strong enough to break through the shell at this stage of development. Both baby chicks and ducklings have an “egg tooth” at the top of their beak that allows them to escape. For the record, the egg tooth does fall off after a few days. They would be significantly less cute with sharp points on the top of their beaks.
5. Bunnies Don’t Have Good Night Vision
Bunnies are not nocturnal, so their eyes are not suited to seeing in the dark. Their night vision is pretty comparable to ours. They are missing a tapetum lucidum, which is what helps animals see in the dark. Bunnies rely on their hearing and sense of smell to compensate.
Just like humans, bunnies have sleeping schedules they adhere to. Bunnies are crepuscular creatures, which means they are most active during dawn and dusk. So they wake up early and go to bed when it is dark. A bunny’s schedule just so happens to include a lot of naps. Bonus fact: bunnies like to cuddle other bunnies.
6. Ducklings, Bunnies and Chicks Nap During The Day
Chicks, ducklings and bunnies all take naps during the day. We’re not quite sure if it’s to make up for not sleeping the night before, but you’ll often catch them napping multiple times a day.
As ducks age, they sleep more. Ducks have an elaborate grooming process that starts with foraging and ends with napping; this happens multiple times a day. Interestingly enough, ducks generally have pretty flexible sleeping habits because of their excess naps. It allows them to maximize their energy usage and hide from predators when needed.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
These adorable baby animals have way more in common with us than you probably thought. No, we don’t have wings or feathers, but there are multiple parallels in our sleeping habits. Now go forth, and impress your family with these Easter animals facts!