Today we learned that sperm whales sleep with their bodies in a vertical position. Swiss wildlife photographer Franco Banfi (previously featured here) captured this awesome photo, entitled ”Synchronized Sleepers”, showing a pod of sperm whales asleep together in the brilliant blue depths off the coast of Dominica Island.
Sperm whales only sleep for short periods of 6-24 minutes, so witnessing this, let alone being able to capture it on camera, is incredibly rare.
In 2008 a team of researchers suggest that, unlike other cetaceans, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), Vulnerable (IUCN)appear to enter short, but periodic, bouts of sleep throughout the day — an observation that Kaplan says could hint that sperm-whales are actually “the least sleep-dependent mammals known.”
“Synchronized Sleepers” was a finalist in the Human/Nature category of the 2017 Big Picture Competition.
Visit Franco Banfi’s website or follow him on Instagram to check out more of his outstanding wildlife photography, like this photo of the same pod of sperm whales wide awake and socializing with each other: