Did You Know That Baby Owls Sleep Face Down? Here Are Some Adorable Pictures to Prove It

Did You Know That Baby Owls Sleep Face Down? Here Are Some Adorable Pictures to Prove It

With the way social media is buzzing these days, every animal species gets at least one day of fame and attention. About a week ago, it was our favorite nocturnal flyers, owls, getting all the attention, and they didn’t even have to do anything remarkably crazy for it. Owlets (baby owls) actually sleep face down, and if the Twitter stats are not wrong, 90% of people (including me) are just learning about this.

I always thought they slept like all other birds, either burrowing their heads into their sides or sitting squatted on their nests with their eyes closed. Some birds sleep while standing, including adult owls, and they’ll tighten their tendons so their toes lock on the perch to keep them from falling. Baby owls, on the other hand, sleep like they’ve had such a long day and couldn’t wait to get home and crash. They just flop face down with their legs stretched out and doze off. Amazing!

The tiny birds went viral following a tweet from journalist Mark Rees. He posted an adorable photo of a baby owl sleeping face down in the sand, and so far, the photo has received 143K likes on Twitter and has spread to other social platforms. Most people didn’t know any birds could sleep like that, and some were just finding out how long an owl’s legs really are.

While sleeping in trees, how come they don’t fall?

There’s not a lot of information about baby-owl sleeping habits online, but according to the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation, baby owls who live in trees truly sleep on their stomachs.

Keeping their talons tightly gripped on a branch, the owlets lay down on their stomachs, turned their heads to the side, and fall asleep. Their naps are short, and when they are asleep, they do not like to be awakened, even to be fed,” the article said.

They won’t fall out of the tree thanks to the involuntary reflex of their back toe. A young owl doesn’t fall out of the tree while it snoozes, because its back toe, the hallux, holds onto the branch. The hallux will not open or let go until the bird bends its leg. Still, before they can fly, most owlets explore and often end up on the ground, sometimes dropping right into the middle of our lives.

Yes, I don’t mind one of those cuties dropping into my life.

Other interesting facts about owlets: They are born with a developed tooth, they have monogamous parents, they are often born in stolen nests, and if you don’t want to get your eyes scratched out, try not to touch them.

Here are some more pictures:


  1. People Are Just Learning That Some Owls Sleep With Their Faces Down And Here Are 26 Pics.” Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavicius. Retrieved June 30, 2020
  2. How Baby Owls Nap Without Falling From Their Trees.Audubon. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  3. 10 Facts About Baby Owls You Never Knew Before.” Little Things. Grace Eire. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
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