6 Animals with Odd Sleep Habits
We sleep eight hours a day (or at least we try), in a single stretch of time (afternoon naps are an exception), in an unconscious state (sleepwalking is a gray area). However, other living things don’t have similar sleep pattens as human. Yes, some animals are nocturnal, while others may hibernate for the winter, but there are some animals with odd sleep habits. Here are six of ’em:
Much like humans, dolphins sleep eight hours a day on average, but that’s where the similarities stop. In case you missed it in our random sleep facts, dolphins sleep with half of their brain conscious at all times. They also keep their eye on the opposite side open. It does this for two main reasons, keeping an eye open helps dolphins stay alert, while the brain controls breathing function, as it needs to be conscious to breathe (unlike humans).
Talk about being sleep deprived. You may not get a lot of sleep, but we’d bet you get more sleep that giraffes. Their environment is riddled with potential predators, so they’ve gotta stay guarded at all times, that’s why they only sleep about half an hour per day. That’s also why they sleep standing up for the most part. Rarely, they’ll lie down and wrap their neck around their body; it’s actually pretty adorable.
Maybe you didn’t know this, but frogs actually hibernate during winter just like bears (at least the ones that live in cold weather environments). Since they’re small, you would think they would be more susceptible to freezing to death during the cold winter months, but they actually have a built in ‘antifreeze’ that allows them to survive, even if they’re frozen solid. Even though their heart stops beating and they stop breathing, come Spring they’re back to normal.
Albatross’ fall asleep at the wheel, literally. These birds fly loooong distances over bodies of water, and are vulnerable to sea predators if they snooze on the water. To solve this, they actually catch some sleep while flying, putting their bodies in proverbial auto-pilot mode. In fact, these birds are hardly ever on land, only landing for long stretches at a time to breed.
5. Desert Snail
You would think that a snail would live a pretty slow-paced life, and you’d be right. In fact, some snails, especially in dryer climates, have been known to sleep in hibernation for up to 3 years! One reason is because they need moisture to live, and if there are dry conditions for too long they can die. So they enclose themselves in their show, sealing the opening with their slime, and sleep until conditions are more suitable.
A study found that queen fire ants sleep up to nine hours a day, but the most interesting is how they get those hours, and how an ant’s ‘status’ determines it’s sleep behavior. All ants sleep in short intervals, with queens taking 90 six-minute naps. Workers ants, however, can never take too much time off from tending the colony, so they take on average 250 naps lasting about 1 minute each; that averages to less than five hours per day. Maybe this is one reason why a queen ant’s lifespan is measured in years, and worker ants’ lives in months.
Know of any other animals with odd sleep habits? And no, your dog doesn’t count (but share them anyways).