Wild Elephants Sleep An Average Of 2 Hours A Day

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Apr 06, 2017 08:39 AM EDT

Elephants in the wild can go without sleep for up to 46 hours and travel about 30 kilometers during that periods.
(Photo : Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

A team of scientists in South Africa found that wild elephants sleep an average of two hours a day. These largest land animals also travel almost two days without sleep as part of their daily routine.

According to Sleep Preview, sort of evidence also claimed that larger mammals, like African elephants, manage to sleep in just a short time. In fact, other groups of scientists conducted studies previously on elephant sleep. But these were done in a cage setting or didn’t determine exactly a rest from sleep.

Paul Manger from University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and his team conducted a keen study on how wild animals sleep. They followed two female adult African elephants roaming freely in Chobe National Park, Botswana, for 35 days.

The researchers implanted the animals with an actiwatch, which is a form of fitness and wellness tracker Fitbit. They place the device in the trunk of the African elephants to trace their sleep pattern precisely.

Furthermore, the team placed a GPS collar with a gyroscope tied around their necks. This is to note the place and time the African elephants lie down to sleep.

“We reasoned that measuring the activity of the trunk, the most mobile and active appendage of the elephant would be crucial, making the reasonable assumption that if the trunk is still for five minutes or more, the elephant is likely to be asleep,” Manger said.

The two African elephants spent only a mean of two hours sleep each day as per the findings published in the journal PLOS ONE. This rest time took place usually during early hours of the morning.

The African elephants also functioned without sleep for up to 46 hours, the researchers found. They even walked long distances approximately 30 kilometers during those restless times. The elephants strolled away may be because of interruptions such as lions or poachers.

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