Wolves sleep during the day, and they sleep in dens or other enclosed spaces where there is enough room for the entire pack.
If they can’t find an enclosed space or a den, they will scratch out a place for themselves in an open field to make themselves more comfortable.
Wolves are nocturnal animals, so they’ll spend most of their nights hunting and moving, while they will take the opportunity to sleep during the day when they can.
Wolf Sleeping Behaviors
1. How Do Wolves Sleep?
A wolf sleeps by curling itself into a ball, which makes it comfortable enough for shorter sleep. If it’s a long sleep, the wolf might turn around and change its position multiple times to make itself comfortable.
In many ways, the wolf sleeping patterns might appear similar to the sleeping patterns of a dog.
If it’s warm and hot, the wolf will stretch its legs out and appear a bit more relaxed, which it will do when there are no real threats around them, especially when they sleep together with their pack members.
But during the winter, they will curl up together very tightly into a ball and squeeze against each other in order to preserve as much heat as possible. They use this strategy when they’re traveling during the winter, or when the wolves wander off on their own and they sleep on their own (which happens rarely).
2. Where Do Wolves Sleep?
Wolves prefer to sleep in enclosed spaces, which they will create for themselves when they are on the move. They often have these sleeping spaces all over their territories, as they might return to them when they’re traveling.
But these spaces where they sleep are not as well-defined as our homes.
They’re slightly more open in nature and often, wolves will sleep outside of enclosed spaces. They will only sleep in closed spaces when they are near their dens, which is where they feel safest.
When on the go, they will look for appropriate spaces to take a rest and sleep. These have to be big enough to accommodate the entire pack, but also safe and comfortable enough. The decision will be made by the alpha male, and the rest of the pack will follow it and accommodate themselves.
Their primary sleeping spot is their original den. That’s where they will return after long hunts and travels. One den might be enough to accommodate an entire pack, or it might only be enough for the two alphas of the pack.
The wolf den will be either dug into the ground, or it will be improvised and set up where there is a hole that allows the wolves to stay safe.
Inside a wolf’s den, there will be as much of the pack as the wolves can fit – the puppies will have the advantage here to be the first to be inside these dens with their mothers because they need the extra protection.
3. Do Wolves Sleep Together?
When the weather is cold, wolves will sneak up against each other tightly in order to stay warm. During the summer, they will still sleep as a pack but they will leave more space between them.
Wolves have one of the strongest pack instincts out of all animals.
The main purpose of the pack is to help each other out and secure the weakest members of the pack. This support comes in handy during the winter when it’s cold, which is when they will sneak up tightly against each other to preserve heat.
The alpha male and female will, most commonly, sleep close to each other, especially when mating.
Other members of the pack, however, might be more widely dispersed and might not be as close to each other as the alphas of the pack, especially when it’s slightly warmer, such as in the summer and spring.
Sleeping together enables wolves to stay warmer and survive the cold, but also stay secure against potential attacks from other animals – but more importantly, against other packs. When sleeping, they might be exposed to such dangers, especially wolf pups, which are hidden as well as they possibly can be by the adult members of the pack.
4. How Much Do Wolves Sleep?
Wolves take regular naps during the day after hunting at night or eating as they will sleep between 4-10 hours per day, which might be further increased when their food intake increases.
Wolves don’t have a clear sleeping pattern or schedules like humans or other animals. They sleep when they are tired, or when they need their metabolism to process the food they’ve eaten.
And because they eat up to 70% more calories than dogs and other animals, it’s possible that wolves sleep longer than dogs, especially after a successful and long hunt.
They’re very adaptable when it comes to sleeping and resting. When it’s too hot for them to move around, they might spend larger portions of their days napping while also opting to travel and do their activities at night. In normal circumstances though, they will interchange in periods of activity and sleep during the day.
It is believed that wolves sleep anywhere between 10 AM and 4 PM before they resume their nightly activities again at dawn.
This period, again, is not strictly set in stone and the sleeping times will vary depending on various circumstances. Most importantly, their sleeping patterns are affected by the following things:
- The time of the year
- Weather and temperatures
- Size of their nightly activities
- Their hunting patterns
- Size of the pack
- Time of day
We imagine wolves as these energetic animals that never sleep. So if you’ve never seen a wolf sleep, then you might be wondering how does one sleep?
Well, the conclusion here is that they look much like dogs when they sleep, only that they prefer to sleep in dens and during the day, as well as with their packs. They have much more security that way and will curl up close to one another when it’s cold outside.
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