Dozing Whales: Photographer Reveals What Whales Look Like When They Snooze

A photographer caught a rare glimpse of what resting whales look like. Over 30 mature sperm whales are dozing at 15 meters depth in the Indian Ocean.They stand like this without moving for quite some time, or hours. All are females, and all the calves are on the surface while their guardians rest.

Popular images have emerged online of sperm whales gathering together, looking motionless and stacked vertically in the water. Whales the size of school buses almost always appear to be “standing” and gathered in pods of five or six.

It’s kind of odd to imagine how an animal that’s about the size of a school bus looks when it’s taking a nap. Well, that’s all changed thanks to French photographer and diver Stephane Granzotto, who captured this image of a calm whale taking a nap during dives in the Mediterranean Sea.

There have been a few images on the internet of sperm whales gathered in groups of five or six, seemingly immobile and positioned in a vertical position in the water. Thus, when whales rest, they appear to be standing. The whales were dozing for approximately 60 minutes in the shot, which was delivered by National Geographic.

Prior to 2008, no one was aware that whales rest vertically. It was at that time that a report on this subject was published in a journal named Current Biology. Additionally, until 2017, nobody had a clear perception of how these animals appear in that stance.

In the wild, whales dive approximately 45 feet and sleep for up to two hours between breaths. As previously stated, they sleep vertically in pods of five or six whales. They probably do so to defend themselves. Whales kept in captivity are among the least drowsy animals known. Whales spend approximately 7% of their day in these vertical positions near the water, according to researchers.

Their snooze typically lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. When they sleep, they only use around half of their brain. This behavior is a result of their fear of predators, their need to maintain social contact, their ability to control their respiration, or it simply helps them continue swimming.