Dens Warrens and Burrows: Beds of the Animal Kingdom

Table of Contents

All living things sleep, whether it’s a mammal, rodent, or reptile. While humans usually slumber in their bed on a mattress, animals may snooze in a variety of different environments depending on their instincts and location. From bears and rabbits to alligators, the shelters that animals create to get a little bit of shuteye is truly fascinating. Every creature requires adequate rest in order to hunt, migrate, and generally stay alive. With the right shelter, these animals can remain safe from predators until they wake up.

Many animals build their own homes so they can stay hidden away from potential predators. Bears are an excellent example of an animal that builds a den where they not only sleep but also raise their babies and keep them safe from harm. Dens are usually either buried deep underground or built by the animal to create a secret shelter. Beavers are one of the most prolific of the den-building animals, and they create shelters that can withstand rushing water and other harsh conditions. Many rodents also sleep in dens, like chipmunks and squirrels. Rabbits are another animal that creates a safe haven for babies inside a den, usually buried underground. This hidden world makes it safe for the animals to get some rest, though some use dens solely to raise their young and then move on.

In the reptile kingdom, the types of sleep spaces can vary greatly depending on the animal and the environment. Many reptiles prefer to slumber out in the open, usually on tree branches or even in the middle of the ground. In hot desert climates, several species of lizards bury themselves deep in the sand to stay cool and to avoid unexpected predators. Unlike bears and other animals that hibernate, creatures like the alligator go dormant when the temperature drops. They dig holes in the mud and create a secret space where they can sleep comfortably and hide. Once they leave their mud hole, other animals may take it over as their new home.

Birds also need sleep, but their style and home can vary depending on the species. While these feathered creatures are in their egg-laying phase, they tend to sleep in the nest so they can keep their eggs and babies warm as well as protect them from predators. Certain species, like the hornbill, dig out their own private dens inside of tree trunks to keep their young ones safe and to get a bit of rest. Other birds may just simply make a temporary bed directly on a tree branch where they can get some rest. Of all animals within the animal kingdom, birds are some of the most fascinating when it comes to sleeping habits and locations. Each bird builds its nest in different ways, in different places, and using different materials. Every bird, from the hummingbird to large birds of prey like hawks and eagles, builds nests.

Domestic animals are the most similar to humans in terms of sleep. This is because we have helped to provide them a shelter throughout their evolution. Donkeys, sheep, horses, and cows typically sleep inside a barn, keeping them safe from predators like wolves or coyotes. When it comes to our pets, they’re even more protected. Most pet animals, like dogs and cats, have their own bed (or they just sleep on ours) inside our homes where they’re comfortable, safe, and sound. Domesticated animals are protected by humans, since we use them for food, companionship, and other purposes. Thanks to this evolution, these creatures really have it the easiest in the animal kingdom.

Logan Block

Logan is the former content director of Sleepopolis. As content director, he reviewed new mattresses every week and curated the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. Logan perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.