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Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Like a few other animals, frogs use both hibernation and estivation as sleep strategies. Shutterstock

10. Frogs are equipped to hibernate with a natural kind of antifreeze. 

Although frogs can be pretty small animals compared to their larger, furrier friends, they can also survive the cold, winter months by hibernating. They have a natural antifreeze, which means that high glucose concentrations under the skin prevent freezing. However, ice crystals may still form in the animal’s body cavities. The natural antifreeze prevents the frog’s vital organs from freezing. During dry spells, the frogs that estivate burrow into the soil and shed several skin layers to form a cocoon. When they do this, they leave only their nose exposed to breathe.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: buunature/Shutterstock

When the rain comes again, they will then shed the cocoon and climb to the surface. Some aquatic frogs can hibernate underwater and rest atop or partially buried in the mud to ensure access to oxygen-rich water. Terrestrial frogs and American toads hibernate by burrowing into the soil below the frost line or hiding in the cracks of logs or rocks. Interestingly, the frog can partially freeze during those winter months and even stop breathing. Its heart can stop beating as well. When spring comes around and brings with it warmer temperatures, the frog will thaw out and return to life with its normal bodily functions. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Like humans, scientists are studying apes’ sleeping positions, body movements, and sleep patterns to learn more about how humans sleep and how it has evolved. Shutterstock

9. Apes, including orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, all like to curl up and go to sleep, just like humans. 

In addition to studying body positions, movements, and patterns, scientists also took a more in-depth look at their brain activity. Like chimpanzees, the rest of the ape family makes their own beds or seeks out high, platform nests away from their predators. That is often by building a sanctuary high in the treetops. By doing this, apes are able to have peace of mind as they catch up on their rest and help them sleep much better than their counterparts. For instance, the baboon that sleeps upright.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Voices In The Dark

Most of us would agree that upright sleeping is not the most comfortable or restful sleep. By creating a peaceful sleeping environment for themselves, apes can get a longer, more restful night of sleep. The difference in sleeping style plays a tremendous role in the efficiency of sleep. Orangutans like to relax, lie down, and sleep on both their front and back. The baboons with their upright sleeping are more of a guarded position. In comparison, the orangutans can get deeper, nonrapid eye movement, sleep. This better sleep could positively impact their cognitive ability. Apes have found an innovative, effective way to sleep both securely and comfortably. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Sloths are extremely heavy sleepers that get more sleep compared to other animals. Shutterstock

8. Sloths utilize their long claws to hang onto branches while they feast and sleep so other animals can’t reach. 

As extremely solitary creatures, sloths rarely interact with one another outside of their breeding season. While that lifestyle may seem incredibly lonely, they have little time to feel lonely given their rigorous sleep schedule. Captive sloths tend to sleep for 15 to 20 hours a day, while wild sloths average around 10 hours a day. They prefer to sleep while curled in a ball in the fork of a tropical tree. Another common sleeping position is to hang by their claws from tree branches. Most sloths occupy several trees during their lifetime, but few may spend their entire lives in the same tree they were born in.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Since they spend most of their time sleeping, they must sleep in a spot that protects them from their predators. High in the tree’s fork is a comfortable place for them to wrap their arms around and drift off to sleep. In addition to sleeping in the tree, the sloth has access to leaves for eating. They may also find themselves snacking on fruit, insects, and small lizards in their trees. It is too infrequent that they come down. These mammals come down from the treetops only to poop, which occurs once a week, searching for a mate or establishing a new territory. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Penguins have extremely unusual sleeping patterns and habits. Shutterstock

7. Rather than sleeping for many hours at night, penguins tend to take short naps during the day and evening.

Penguins have the unique ability to sleep while standing up or in the water. On occasion, they will also sleep with their bills tucked under their wings to maintain their body heat. Unlike humans, penguins never really fall asleep. Since they are often prey for predators such as leopard seals and sharks, they have to remain alert and on guard to some extent. Therefore, rather than going into a deep slumber like many other animals, they take several short naps throughout the day. On average, each nap lasts a few minutes. To provide additional protection from their predators, experts can find penguins sleeping in groups. The close arrangements offer not only security but also add warmth. People have observed penguins resting on land. However, since they are often at sea for periods of up to nine months, it is assumed that penguins also nap while they are in the ocean.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Bazintaz Blogspot

Similar to humans, penguins appear to enjoy a more restful nap if their stomachs are full. Some penguins, such as Emperor penguins, are frequently found sleeping standing up. While this sleeping position does not sound comfortable to humans, there is a very logical reason. By standing up, the penguin does not come in contact with the cold ground. Only its well-insulated feet are subject to the harsh cold. You can find other penguins such as King penguins sleeping on their stomachs. Like humans, each penguin sleeps in a safe, comfortable, and warm position. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
If asked about bears’ sleeping habits, many would likely say that they hibernate all winter. While that is partially true, the deciding factors in how much these animals sleep are the season and how much foraging for food they need to do. Shutterstock

6. In the coldest three to five months of the year, bears go into hibernation. 

During hibernation, the bears’ bodies experience drastic changes. For instance, during hibernation, they have a reduced heart rate and blood flow. Their overall body temperature decreases by about 10 degrees, and their metabolism drops to almost half of what it is typically. The decrease in metabolism occurs so that the bear can survive without eating. Besides, the bear doesn’t go to the bathroom and rarely wakes up. For the most part, the only time it will wake up is if something comes into its den. During these three to five months, the bear will also lose up to 25 percent of its weight. While hibernating, they tend to make a den under a rock, in a hollow tree or snuggled under a fallen tree.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Once spring rolls around and the snow melts, their food sources begin to become available again. Bears will then wake up from their months-long hibernation. During the following few months, they hardly sleep at all. It makes sense because they have not eaten in an extremely long time and are hungry. They spend almost the entire time looking for food and getting their body weight back to normal over the next few months. As summer hits, bears begin to split their time more evenly. They nap and relax during the day and spend their nights searching for food. When fall begins, bears see it as a signal to start stocking up on food before winter begins and the cycle continues.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Goats are incredibly social animals that live in herds, containing as many as 20 ghosts in the wild. Shutterstock

5. On average, goats get around five hours of sleep each night and often take naps throughout the day. 

Many people have questioned if goats sleep because they do not see them sleeping. They are just very tricky when it comes to showing it. Goats tend to find a blind spot where it is hard for humans to spot them and choose times during the day and night, where there are no other animals present. The place they choose is difficult to see but is usually a sheltered spot they find comfortable sleeping. Besides, they tend to sleep lightly. They do not undergo heavy sleep. They are always on high alert, and any small noise or light appearing as a threat wakes them up immediately.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Piotr Zajac/Shutterstock

Although many people have thought that goats sleep standing up, that is not true. Goats lay down on the ground with their bodies in an upright position. Sleeping in this position is much easier and quicker for them to get up if they need to get away from a threat, especially other wild animals. They also prefer to sleep with other companions. Having a companion helps keep the goats warm and prevents them from getting lonely and depressed. Domesticated goats are slightly different. They tend to sleep longer than wild goats because of the change in their lifestyle and environment. Domestic goats can be more comfortable with other farm animals and their caretakers, so they are not bothered or startled by sounds created or produced near them. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Unlike other animals, spiders do not have eyelids; therefore, they cannot sleep in the same way. Instead, you can tell if a spider is sleeping based on their body language. Shutterstock

4. Spiders are known to have circadian rhythms or daily periods of activity and rest.

In colder climates, spiders can hibernate. It allows them to live and survive in a kind of suspended state until the temperatures rise. While they are inactive, the spiders’ metabolism slows down. You can sort of tell whether spiders are sleeping or in hibernation by observing their body language. During hibernation, spiders tuck in their legs, and their metabolic rates slow to help them survive. Their metabolic rate slowing allows them not to have to burn as many calories. They can survive without eating and living in a sleeplike state until the cold weather ends.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Cen

The same tucked-in position also indicates a sleeping spider. However, if you see a spider laying on its back or in an awkward position with legs tucked, then it may not be alive. Spiders are pretty savvy about taking care of their odds for survival. They tend to hunt, nest, and sleep out of harm’s way. When spiders go into hibernation, they are most likely to be found in their webs. People might find them in protected places such as cracks in the walls. Triggers besides circadian rhythms and cold temperatures can cause spiders to become unconscious. For instance, female funnel-web spiders can lose consciousness during mating in response to males’ pheromones. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Many people have heard of the saying that if you see a cow lying down, it will rain. However, some may be surprised to find out that it is not valid. Shutterstock

3. Cows spend over half of their lives lying down – but not always sleeping.

While cows may doze off for a few minutes at a time while standing up, they typically lie down to sleep or rest. They usually lean forward on their chest and forelimbs or lie entirely on their sides. Just as with any other animals, cows need their sleep to stay healthy. It is a common misconception that cows sleep standing up. Cows lie down for up to 14 hours per day and stand up every few hours to stretch, only to lie back down again. While they are lying down, the cow’s hooves get a rest from standing and also have a chance to dry off from any moisture they have encountered while wandering.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Weidefunk

Besides, while lying down, cows can properly digest their food. The blood circulation also increases throughout a cow’s udders to help with the milk production while in a resting position. Although they spend up to 14 hours a day lying down, only a small fraction of that time is sleeping. They spend around four hours each day sleeping. They don’t usually sleep for four hours straight, but instead, they sleep for shorter periods. Cows take frequent naps throughout the day and night that typically last between one and five minutes at a time.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
While it doesn’t seem that a tiny snail would have a busy, chaotic life, they can sleep for years. Shutterstock

2. Some snails, such as desert snails, estivate while others hibernate.

We are all pretty familiar with hibernation when some animals conserve their energy by lowering their metabolism and ‘sleeping’ through the cold months. Some small species hibernate, but they also estivate. That is essentially the summer version of hibernation, in which animals enter a prolonged dormant state. Animals do this to protect themselves from the dryness and dangerously high temperatures. Snails can estivate for years. One instance of this was when a British museum worker found an Egyptian snail’s shell and assumed it was empty.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: Welcome Wildlife

She went on to attach the shell to an identification card. Four years later, someone noticed there were traces of slime on the card. They put the shell into the water, and when the body came off the card, the workers were left stunned. As the cover came off, an alive, awake snail crawled out. The snail was estivating the entire time. Snails in colder climates can hibernate, while snails in hotter climates estivate during the summer months. Snails can decide to go into a deep sleep to avoid adverse weather conditions and periods when food is scarce. When snails go into either hibernation or estivation, they seal themselves safely inside their shells with a mucus layer that forms a hard cover over the opening. 

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Similar to horses, elephants are also able to sleep standing up. As prey animals, they need to be able to remain alert and run away quickly. Shutterstock

1. Elephants sleep for two hours every day. 

With averaging just two hours of sleep a night, wild elephants are the lightest-known sleepers of any mammal. They might have little competition for this title in the giraffe. Wild elephants have more dangers and pressure to find food; wild animals tend to sleep less. The majority of the time, elephants will sleep standing up. Occasionally they would lie down when they require rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During REM, the muscles usually relax, making it impossible to remain standing. However, this amount is so small that it doesn’t happen often.

Unusual Sleeping Habits of Earth’s Creatures
Photo Credit: New Scientist

Wild elephants are not too picky about where they sleep, but they are also on high alert when a predator presents itself. Surprisingly, their physical activity level during the day doesn’t directly impact how long they doze off. Bigger animals generally tend to sleep less, likely because they have to spend much time eating. Captive elephants tend to sleep a little longer, averaging three to seven hours a day. However, they do not have to worry about the threat of predators or where their next meal will come from. Researchers have uncovered that while elephants slept for an average of two hours a day, it was not consecutively. Instead, it was in four to five short bursts and occurred primarily between the nighttime hours. Each time the elephants slept in different places each night.  


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