People Are Just Learning Baby Owls Sleep Face Down As Their Heads Are Too Heavy

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 22 Jun 2020 18:39

All babies are born with heads too big for their bodies, but baby owls are so heavy that they have to sleep face down.

The image first surfaced online as a bit of a meme because, y’know, it has a bit of a bit of a ‘go home owl, you’re drunk’ vibe.


While the reliability of the source was first questioned, it turns out to be actually true with more pictures of young owls lying down to sleep having surfaced, making it all the more amazing.

Basically, adult owls sleep stood up because they’re fully developed but younger owls struggle to hold the weight of their heads so have to lie down, IFL Science reports.

One Twitter user shared some pictures to confirm the theory.


It was confirmed by another Twitter user who wrote:

I’ve been trying to find the original photographer for this image, but no luck. It’s obviously a captive bird. Regardless, yes, young nestling owls do sleep, or rest lying down. Their heads are too heavy for their bodies. Here are some saw-whets from my Ph.D. research


It was also confirmed in an article by the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organisation dedicated to conservation.

A listener of the society’s podcast BirdNote told them how he’d discovered two baby owls and was advised to observe them nap. The listener was then delighted to discover that the two babies napped on their stomachs with their head turned to the side. While it was less of a face plant – I’m sure it was just as cute.

The article added, ‘Their naps are short, and when they are asleep, they do not like to be awakened, even to be fed.’

I think we can all relate to that.


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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, cute, Now, Twitter


IFL Science
  1. IFL Science

    That Sleeping Owl Photo Doing The Rounds Online Turns Out To Be... Real