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It’s hard to imagine a school bus-sized animal sleeping, but thanks to the French diver and photographer we now know.

1609549159-6806-ot-2020-11-29-at-12.00.52-PMStephane Granzotto: National Geographic

When tired, sperm whales take a deep breath, submerge about 45 feet, and line up in perfectly flat vertical patterns, according to National Geographic.

1609549159-1799-ot-2020-11-29-at-12.20.31-PMStephane Granzotto: National Geographic

 

They sleep loudly and stay still for up to two hours between breaths, in herds of 5 or 6 whales, most likely for protection.

Nobody knew whales slept vertically until a 2008 study documented their behavior. And until 2017 nobody took really great photos.

The French photographer and director Stéphane Granzotto has documented sperm whales in the Mediterranean for his illustrated book on creatures when he encounters strange behavior.

1609549160-1204-ot-2020-11-29-at-12.15.36-PMStephane Granzotto: National Geographic

 

While sperm whales sleep with one eye open and half their brains on alert in captivity, there is evidence that they are entering a more complete and deeper sleep in the wild.

1609549162-3606-ot-2020-11-29-at-12.11.17-PM

Stephane Granzotto: National Geographic

The study found that sperm whales in Chile were sound asleep until they collided with a ship whose engines were turned off.

 

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