June 22, 2017
Have you ever been curious about which animals sleep the most, and which animals never seem to sleep at all? What about those hibernating animals that sleep through seasons? Turns out the sleeping habits of animals are all over the place.
You have the giraffes, cows, and elephants – those mammals that stand on four legs, that sleep for the least amount of time. On the other end of the spectrum are cuddly, but deadly, koalas and pandas that take the most time out of their meal schedules to snooze. Discover the differences among sleep habits of the most popular creatures on the planet.
This majestic creature may have the longest neck in the animal kingdom, but giraffes also have one of the shortest sleep spans. On average, a giraffe living in captivity aka a zoo will sleep for 4.6 hours a night. However, giraffes on the African plains will sleep for only 2 hours per night. Interestingly, these towering beauties sleep standing up for the most part, with interspersed moments of sitting.
Did you know that cows only sleep for about 4 hours? Most of this sleep doesn’t take place in a long stretch either, as cows are more apt to napping. In fact, cows take power naps of about one to five minutes per hour. The rest of the time these bovine beasts are hanging out half-asleep, waiting for their next sprint of a nap time. Maybe the term “cat nap” should be changed to “cow nap!”
The BBC revealed that wild elephants have the shortest sleep spans of any mammals including humans. While an elephant living in captivity will sleep for up to 6 hours a day, wild pachyderms only get two hours. Elephants then have to pack their sleep in during the night hours to ensure the herd’s safety. Another way these animals prevent nocturnal predators from attacking is by having elephants on guard. Matriarchs of the herd will stay away for days on end during an attack by poachers or lions.
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, pandas take lots of naps. Rather than sleeping all night long, a panda will have a meal and then take a long nap. These naps last for two to four hours and take place throughout the day. In total, a panda will sleep about 10 hours a day. A giant panda in the wild will sleep sprawled out on it’s belly or back, or curled up on their side. Now that’s a sight to see!
One of the more interesting snoozers is the brown bat. This furry little creature takes to the caves for an average 19.9 hours a day according to Dr. Eric Chudler of the University of Washington. These bats also hibernate throughout winter, which only adds to their epic sleepiness.
The animal that sleeps the longest is the koala. In between eating eucalyptus leaves, a koala will sleep on average 22 hours a day. That’s right, these furry climbers are only alert for two whopping hours. Why the need for so much sleep? The Australian Koala Foundation points out that the eucalyptus leaves are full of toxins, as tasty as they may be, and have little nutritional value. These leaves are also loaded with fiber that takes a lot of energy to break down.
Compared to humans, animals have pretty diverse sleep schedules. So which animal do you most resemble in your sleep habits? Which animal would you prefer to be based on the amount of sleep they get?