African Elephants Sleep Less Than Any Other Mammal On Earth

Posted: Mar 2 2017, 8:00am CST | by , in Latest Science News


This story may contain affiliate links.

African Elephants Sleep Less Than Any Other Mammal on Earth
Getty Images
  • Elephants are the Shortest Sleeping Mammals
  • Researchers use Fitbits to track elephant sleep in the wild

Apparently, the African elephant snoozes for the shortest period of time among mammals.

African elephants in the wilderness sleep for less than two hours during the day. They may even go for two days without getting any shuteye.

The study regarding this was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Paul Manger from University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and colleagues..

Being the most humongous land animal, the African elephant is proof of the fact that the larger an animal is, the less it will enjoy extended sleep.

The only problem is that most studies have been done on animals in conditions of confinement. This unnatural environment may cause the sleep timespan to undergo prolongation.

Also whether the animal in question is fast asleep or actually trying to doze off is hard to differentiate. The wilderness is where the study was done in order to gauge with full accuracy how elephants fare in the sleep department.

Two female African elephants were tracked for a period of a month and a few days. These elephants were equipped with an “actiwatch” in their trunks to monitor sleep patterns. Also a neck ring with a gyroscope built into it gauged their sleep positions.

The total sleep time was 2 hours for both elephants on a daily basis. This was found to be the least sleep any land animal may take. Some days, the two elephants would go for 46 hours without sleep.

They however were not affected by this sleep deprivation. It seemed to suit them to a T. They covered lengthy trails of 30 km or more due to the dangers of hungry lions or illegal hunters.

Add to that the fact that they lay down on a rare basis and you have a strange situation where these lumbersome beasts seemed to be thriving on so little Z’s.

Whether these elephants got their REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep is questionable. This form of sleep is very necessary for sanity and proper functioning.

New insights into elephant behavior and sleep patterns were picked up from the study that took place. While in captivity, elephants sleep for four to six hours, in the wild state, they only sleep for two hours or less.

As for the phase of REM sleep, elephants enter it every three to four days and that too on a minimal basis. These gentle giants seem to be wide awake most of the time and enter the “Land of Nod” only occasionally.

This story may contain affiliate links.


Find rare products online! Get the free Tracker App now.

Download the free Tracker app now to get in-stock alerts on Pomsies, Oculus Go, SNES Classic and more.

Latest News


The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




comments powered by Disqus