Sleep is necessary for most mammals. For humans, our bodies need rest to restore, repair tissues and synthesize hormones. That is why humans need on average, seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Animals that are mammals require different amounts of sleep. Some animals like possums sleep up to 18 hours a day while others like giraffes sleep for three hours a day.
Elephants are also one of those mammals that require less sleep. How many hours do elephants sleep? To learn more about elephants sleeping habits, we have gathered these five fun facts about elephants.
Wild elephants get an average of two hours of sleep each night.
Yes, believe it or not, wild elephants can get up two hours of sleep a night. A study was conducted by Paul Manger and his colleagues at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, to monitor wild elephants' sleep.
This team monitored the two African elephant matriarchs in the Chobe National Park for 35 consecutive days. They discovered that these elephants sleep an average of two hours.
Why do these wild elephants sleep so little? Well, scientists believe that they sleep less because they need to eat large amounts of food. Plus, there are a lot more dangers they have to avoid like poachers and lions.
Elephants in zoos sleep an average of four to six hours a day.
How many hours do elephants sleep in zoos? Elephants that are in captivity sleep between four to six hours a day. Why do these elephants sleep more compared to their wild counterparts? For one, elephants in zoos do not have pressures like finding food and water sources.
Zookeepers provide elephants with the amount of food and water they need throughout the day and night. Elephants in the wild must search and find food and water, even in drought conditions.
Another reason elephants in zoos sleep more is they do not have to worry about dangers. In the wild, elephants have to be on a constant lookout for poachers and lions that might invade their herds. This gives elephants less time to sleep.
Elephants can sleep both lying and standing up.
Elephants can sleep both standing up and lying down. However, researchers have discovered that elephants in captivity tend to sleep more lying down than elephants in the wild.
Elephants in the wild sleep more time standing up because it is easier for them to move. Since elephants are so large, it takes them much longer to get up.
Wild elephants tend to sleep in groups.
To protect one another from potential dangers, a herd of wild elephants sleeps in groups. Typically, one group of elephants will sleep while another group of elephants stays awake. The elephants that remain awake will watch for danger and warn the sleeping elephants of any potential dangers.
Wild elephants can go up to 46 hours without sleep.
As stated above, a wild elephant can get an average of two hours of sleep each night. However, there are times when elephants go without sleep for 46 hours. Researchers discovered that elephants could go up to 46 hours walking without sleep.
These animals can go long distances without sleeping to avoid dangers. Elephant herds want to avoid lion attacks and human poachers. Since the matriarch elephant is the leader, this elephant gets the least sleep because they are leading the herds.
Would you like to learn more fun facts about elephants?
Contact For Elephants to learn more about African elephants and how we are working with zoos across the United States to provide the best conservation strategies. Or, you can donate to help fund our African elephant research.