Warm Summer days make us feel like taking things a little more slowly – it’s time to put our feet up and unwind – and we’re not the only ones who like to indulge in a little r n r…
If you think of a laid-back animal, the first one that comes to mind is the sloth – sloths are definitely not hurrying for anyone – they’re just hanging around in the trees, taking things real slow. Whilst they’re not ones for hitting the gym, all that hanging about means they have incredibly strong muscles to support their being upside down all day (and night) long. They have poor, monochrome eyesight, which is one good reason why they wouldn’t be able to move around at apace and whilst they might look like they’re on their own, they do in fact have a fur full of company– up to 1000 insects and algae call a sloth home – all the action is at fur-level!
Moving from the tropical rainforests further north, we come across another easy-going critter – the opossum (commonly known as possum). Love ‘em, or not, these guys know how to chil-lax. Once they’ve found a place to call home, they’ll be extremely reluctant to leave it, settling down to enjoy up to 20 hours sleep a day, emerging for a little nocturnal hunting, before tucking up again for more shut-eye. They’re not fussy eaters and will go for the easiest dinner available – so beware if this happens to be your garbage bin!
Reptiles are cold blooded souls, who need to catch some rays before they can get going, but the pygmy blue tongued lizard can’t be bothered with all that. It’s what you might call a homebody, because it rarely emerges from the cave where it lives – so how does it find food and water? It doesn’t, because food and water find it! It just sits there, mouth open, waiting for its dinner to fall in! Home delivery at its simplest!
The python is another cool character, who lives life in the slow lane. Most of its day is spent asleep and if it’s getting ready to shed its skin, then it’ll need a full 24hours of kip beforehand. Pythons don’t have to get a wiggle on when it comes to lunchtime, because they only need to eat once a week and once that’s sorted, they can get back to another hard day doing nothing.
Another snooze-loving creature is the owl monkey – believed to be the only nocturnal monkey, these primates like nothing better than to while away the daylight hours in gentle slumber – about 17 hours of shut-eye in fact! They eventually bother themselves to shake a leg at night, when they emerge for a some gentle socialising and dining. Mother owl monkeys think bringing up baby is too much effort and let dad be the main care giver, whilst they take the weight off their paws…yawn.
Down on the ocean floor lies another horizontal individual – the nurse shark. A relative of the whale shark, these guys drift along the sea bed, sucking as they go, to catch any bottom dwelling prey along the way. They do their drift fishing after the hours of darkness. During the day, they like to have a good, long rest – sometimes getting together in groups for a shark slumber party – hope they don’t snore!
Now if wallowing in all that mud proves too tiring, then why not put your trotters up for a bit? That’s the philosophy of pigs, who spend more than half their time in dreamland. They like some company for all that repost, though, so prefer cuddling up with a mate or two for a group snuggle and snooze.
The giant panda certainly knows a thing or two about snoozing – it spends hours and hours on end doing just that – why? The trouble is, that it simply loves bamboo shoots and doesn’t want to eat anything else, which is all well and good, but bamboo is very low on nutrition and very high on cellulose, so it has to eat lots and lots to get by – its fussy eating habits prove exhausting, and it must rest and rest while it digests.
Twelve-hour siestas are how the echidna passes away the long, hot Australian days – being unable to pant or sweat, these spiky critters keep themselves tucked away in their cool burrows – where there’s nothing much to do but, well, sleep. They finally emerge during the cooler night to slowly forage for some food, before its bed time once more.
So relax, unwind, chill out and enjoy some down time … night, night zzzz