Sleepy Time….

When it comes to getting some r n r, sloths seem to have it sussed, sleeping for up to 18 hours a day!  Although you’d think their laid-back lifestyle shows them as being a little on the lazy side – they are in fact conserving what little energy they have.  If you’re a leaf eater, then you need lots of leaves a day to keep you going; but sloths’s stomachs quickly become full, so they just can’t manage to squeeze in all the veggies they need – the solution? Chill out, relax and unwind…

Koalas might give bears a reputation for being idol – but not so.  For starters, these guys aren’t bears and the reason for their easy-going approach is again down to a diet of leaves.  Not only do they get scanty amounts of energy from their foliage, but they also need extraordinary digestive powers to combat the leaves’ toxin levels too – this means they need to go low n slow, siestaring all day before wandering out for a leisurely munch at midnight.

Brown bats would point out that the reason they sleep all day is because they’re nocturnal – but the truth is that these guys sleep for a lengthy 19 hours out of every 24, spending a mere 4-5 hours on a night-time food finding flight before hanging out again to catch some more shuteye.

Another critter who loves to cosy up is the hedgehog – hibernation racks up 4-5 months continual repose – they cooch up in a comfy spot for their long hibernal slumber, only stirring if they feel like a change of bed, until spring arrives.  You might think that this lengthy kip would make them bright eyed and bushy tailed all summer long; but even in the warmer times, they’re not giving up their beds, spending all day long asleep and only peeping out from their pits after sundown for a snuffle around.

Having to lug around a shell that’s about a 6th of your total weight can prove rather arduous for armadillos.  When they’re ready for bed, they’re not in the mood to share, digging out their own individual burrows and hunkering down on their tods for a long 16 hour nap.  They come out during dawn and dusk to sniff out their favourite insect snacks and when all that shell carrying proves too tiring, then they’ll return to their solitary slumber once more.

When the weather gets dreary, the little dormouse decides it’s off for a rather lengthy lie down.  Winter is far too cold for it, with nothing much in the way of tasty treats about, so it might as well sleep through until spring – time to get up then?  Maybe, but then again, if there’s isn’t much food it fancies around, then it’s back to bed for another doze.  It doesn’t do daytime, so that’s another opportunity for a nap – all in all, it can spend up to 9 months a year zoned out – its name means sleeping mouse – and although it might be more closely related to squirrels than mice, it definitely does know how to drop off!

It has to be tricky to take a nap if you’re embarking on a long flight over the sea, but the frigatebird has an answer – it keeps one eye open and uses one half of its brain to navigate its way and then closes the other eye and puts the other half of its brain to sleep!  This strange kind of auto pilot allows it to grab 40 winks on the wing.  Once it finally comes ashore, it can settle down for a good, long catchup.

Royalty gets more rest in the ant world – the queen ant can enjoy around 9 hours slumber a day, whereas the busy workers can only hope for less than half that, grabbing rest in small power naps as they bustle about their chores – no wonder she lives twice as long as they do!  It seems rank has its sleep privileges!

Surprisingly snails win the prize for the longest sleep – they are able to hibernate – or estivate (winter or summer sleep) for a massive 3 years at a stretch!  This seems drastic and they only resort to such lengthy downtime when forced to by periods of hot, dry weather.  They wrap themselves up snug in a blanket of slime and settle down to wait for the rain to return.  If the climes are damper (like Britain!!) then snails sleep for 15 hour stretches before sliding off to snack on shrubbery for up to 30 hours, before another 15 hour shuteye session.

Changing your outfit proves strenuous if you’re a ball python.  Whilst your typical python is a sleepy snake, snoozing for around 20 out of every 24 hours, when it comes to shedding its skin, then this requires a whole new level of slumber and the python will spend weeks napping whilst it regenerates its latest fashion creation – it’s exhausting being beautiful darling!

Whilst we might be tutting at these creatures’ love of napping, we shouldn’t forget that as babies we too indulged in sleep marathons, clocking up a staggering 17 hours a day! Oh to sleep like a baby….

Hope all this talk of snoozing hasn’t made you drop off zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Published by candy hunter writer

Self publishing author - Childrens books. First book - Chuckle with Chumleigh; recently launched - Chumleigh and the Festive Secret and Chuckle with Chumleigh Again - available on Amazon.

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