Home WORLD A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

Swiss photographer Franco Banfi snapped an extremely rare shot of a group of sperm whales in their sleep. He and a team of scuba divers were following the pack in the Caribbean Sea, near Dominica Island, when suddenly the whales stopped moving and went into a synchronized vertical rest.

Photo by Franco Banfi

This behavior was first documented only back in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into a group of stationary sperm whales.

Photo by Franco Banfi

After studying tagged whales the team found out that this collective nap occurs for approximately 7 percent of the whale’s life, in short stretches of just 6-24 minutes.


Baffled by the behavior, the scientists analyzed data from tagged whales and discovered that these massive marine mammals spend about 7 percent of their time taking short (6- to 24-minute) rests in this shallow vertical position. Scientists think these brief naps may, in fact, be the only time the whales sleep.