Can a Deer Sleep with their Eyes Open?

The sleeping postures of a deer are a matter of conversation, don’t you agree? From keeping their eyes open to sleeping in a standing position- there are a lot of opinions on their unique ways of sleeping.

But do deer sleep with their eyes open or is it just a myth? If they keep their eyes open, why do they do it? Calm down, we are going to make it an open book to you- we have eye-opening details for you today!

Table of Contents

Can a Deer keep their Eyes open while sleeping?

We have often heard the “deer sleep” thing in the past- a person who keeps the eyelid partially opened while sleeping is known to have deer sleep. The name came for a reason, right?

Well, yes, a deer can keep their eyes open while sleeping. In this position, they are almost awake as their ears and noses work perfectly. Even when they sleep, they have strong hearing and smell power.

But do they keep their eyes open always? And how can they sleep if their eyes are not closed? Let’s take a look at why they do what they do here!  

Reason to Keep the Eyes Opened while Sleeping

Reason to Keep the Eyes Opened

You might be thinking that a deer sleeps like a human- all comfortable and relaxed, but no, that’s not the case. They don’t sleep in such a relaxed position like a human.

Instead, they are cautious even when they sleep. You must keep in mind that they are prey animals; as a result, they have to stay cautious the entire time and in some cases, even when they are sleepy. Humans sleep for a long period but they don’t do it the same way.

They sleep during the day and stay awake the whole night so that they can safeguard themselves from predators. And mostly, their predators are out looking for them at night. They only sleep for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes and repeat it throughout the day.

And when they wake up, they get 100% aware of their surroundings- they have to protect themselves, and this stays in their mind always. In short, they keep their eyes open to stay safe.  

Besides keeping their eyes open, often, you might see a deer sleeping in a standing position. Is it possible for any animal to do it? Check out our site to learn about these facts on deer.

Can a Deer keep their Eyes closed while sleeping?

You already know that deer can keep their eyes open when they sleep. But can they keep their eyes closed? Or keeping the eyes open is their posture of sleeping? It’s amazing to tell you that they can also keep their eyes closed while sleeping.

So, the deer can keep their eyes closed or open while they sleep. If they feel extremely safe in an area, they will close their eyes. This is why deer prefer to stay in groups- this helps them sleep peacefully as all the deer stay cautious.


However, a fawn or a baby deer mostly sleeps keeping their eyes closed as they are yet to learn the way of the world! Have you ever heard a baby deer crying? Take a look at ‘why do baby deer cry at night to know the reason behind a fawn screaming loudly the entire night.

FAQs on Deer Sleeping with Opened Eyes

Do deer blink their eyes?

We have told you that deer can sleep by keeping their eyes open. It’s to make sure that they are well-protected and no predator is following them. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t blink! Like any other human or animal. The blinking eyes of a deer are quite common. The process protects their eyes. Along with protecting the eyes, this works as body language for the animals. It’s important to note that deer don’t blink their eyes as much as humans.

How many eyelids do deer have?

Unlike other animals, deer have three eyelids. While most mammals have two, they have three eyelids and this is called the third inner eyelid. The work of this eyelid is to keep the deer’s eyes moist. As the deer blinks less the inner eyelids work for keeping their eyes moist. Also, their eyes are positioned in a way that they can see distant objects across 310 degrees area. The fun part is they don’t need to move their eyes for it!

Deer sleeping in bed

Wrap Up

If you have seen a deer staying in a place for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes without blinking its eyes, chances are, you have already seen a deer sleeping. We often don’t recognize a deer sleeping as they can keep their eyes open. However, what most people don’t know is if they can sleep with their eyes closed too!

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