The average person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function properly, but this is not the case for all of our fellows in the wild. Sleep offers a way to recuperate after a day and restore the energy that creatures exhaust their waking days, but it also offers a way to conserve energy. In extreme cases, hibernation allows animals to accumulate food and store it for months.
Numbness from hibernation is fundamentally different from traditional sleep, and this excludes creatures like many species of bears from our list. Instead, the world’s most sleepy animals can be ranked by how many hours they sleep on average per day. These lazy animals can help you feel better and remind you that it’s okay to get a good night’s sleep.
# 10 Animal that sleeps a lot: koala – 18 to 22 hours of sleep per day.
The adorable tree-climbing Australian marsupials may blame poor nutrition for their chronic case of sleepiness. The tall branches of the trees provide koalas with protection from predators and an almost endless supply of eucalyptus leaves, but part of the reason for such weak competition is that these leaves contain almost no nutritional value. But for four to five hours, while the koalas are awake, they are absolutely gluttonous. Not only are they able to eat a whole kilogram of eucalyptus leaves in a day, but they also store the leaves in their cheeks for a snack while they sleep.
You can read more about the koala, the cuddly laziest marsupial in Australia, here.
No. 9An animal that sleeps a lot: laziness – 10 to 20 hours of sleep per day
Sloths are creatures synonymous with laziness in the popular imagination, and there is a lot of truth in this statement. But while sloths in captivity sleep up to 20 hours a day, research shows that sloths in the wild sleep 10 hours a day or less. In part, the notion that the sloth is lazy is due to the habits of this adorable creature. Their unique bodies allow them to dangle from tree branches, and they end up doing most of their hanging activities, including giving birth and even copulation in addition to sleeping and eating.
Food is readily available and predators are virtually nonexistent, and sloths rarely even have a reason to leave their sheds.
Sloths may sleep less than you think, but this is not the only unexpected fact in their lives. You can read more about them here.
# eightAn animal that sleeps a lot: a small brown bat – up to 20 hours of sleep per day
Bats are nocturnal, so you are unlikely to see them awake during the day. But the point is, they’re not much more alert after dark. The small brown bat hunts actively for several hours after dusk, but then usually retreats to its place to return to sleep. They are lucky enough to get so much energy.
A typical small brown bat must eat half of its weight every night to feed properly, and mothers may end up eating more than their entire weight during one night of hunting. As a result, these bats don’t just sleep most of the day. They also hibernate throughout the winter.
Small brown bats play an important role in the conservation of insect populations, and you can learn a lot more about them here.
# 7The animal that sleeps a lot: the giant armadillo – 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day
The carapace in which the giant armadillos are coiled can protect them from a variety of natural threats, but they still prefer to spend most of their time in cover despite this extra layer of armor. Instead, these lonely creatures create burrows in which they hide for 16 to 18 hours at a time. Researchers are not technically aware of how much time they sleep, as giant armadillos are believed to also spend a significant amount of time in their burrows feeding. The close proximity of the insects and larvae means that the giant armadillo often has an easy breakfast in bed.
The giant battleship is built like a tank, but you can find out more about what’s going on under the surface of this armor here.
# 6An animal that sleeps a lot: North American possum – 18 hours
The opossum’s unusual defense mechanism has made the phrase “playing with a possum” synonymous with pretending to be dead – but there’s a good chance that the prone possum you see in your area is actually fast asleep. But one myth that needs to be debunked is the notion that possums sleep hanging on their tails. On the contrary, possums are nocturnal creatures that, after hunting, go into hollowed out trunks or abandoned rodent nests.
The opossum is the only marsupial endemic to North America, and you can learn more about these adorable creatures here.
# fiveAn animal that sleeps a lot: python – 18 hours
Scientists still don’t know much about the sleep cycle of snakes, including whether they are dreaming or not. The fact that they do not close their eyes before bed makes it difficult to study their behavior, and snakes also use another method of rest, called brumation, which is similar to the hibernation cycle in some mammals.
Among the laziest snakes is the python, which is believed to sleep up to 18 hours at a time. As nocturnal creatures, they hunt at night and then retreat to safety to rest without being threatened by predators.
Python is one of the most adorable snakes in the world, and you can learn more about their habits here.
# 4An animal that sleeps a lot: Night monkey – 17 hours
The fact that nocturnal monkeys only emerge under cover of darkness and spend most of their time in the dense rainforests of Central America means that experts have not noticed a decline in their population as quickly as they might have otherwise. Their shortened cycles of activity are largely related to their physiology. Their exceptional night vision allows them to excel at hunting and surviving in the dark, but it becomes a hindrance in daylight.
Night monkeys are also commonly known as owl monkeys due to their unique characteristics.
Monkeys and primates tend to sleep significantly more than humans, but you can learn about even greater differences between us and our evolutionary cousins here.
# 3An animal that sleeps a lot: a tiger – 16 hours
In general, cats often sleep, but tigers are king of the feline in terms of sleep. Tigers are incredibly ferocious predators, but their muscular bodies must generate a lot of energy. Add to that the fact that they are solitary predators, and one bad night of hunting can lead to a vicious cycle of hunger and failure.
Tigers spend most of their hunt at night, and although they spend about 16 hours a day sleeping, they can just mess around for up to 20 hours. For a tiger, the main thing is to be as efficient as possible with its limited energy.
The tiger is the third largest land-based predator in the world, but there are many other interesting facts about this wild cat here.
# 2An animal that sleeps a lot: a shrew – 16 hours
Thanks to their effective use as experimental subjects, scientists have significant data on the sleep process of rodents, but the shrew stands out as a deviation even by their accepted standards. Shrews never seem to leave their nests at night, in part because the very structure of their eyes prevents them from seeing during the day.
The most exciting finding in studying these sleeping creatures is that the rhythms of their sleep cycles are more similar to those of other rodents. It also suggests that these longer sleep cycles allow for more elaborate memory shaping.
# oneAnimal that sleeps a lot: squirrel – 15 hours
It is common knowledge that squirrels gather supplies so that they can squat and hibernate during the winter, but they still sleep a lot, even when they are not in a hibernation cycle.
Squirrels are active during the day and squat in the evening, but they also tend to sleep up to 15 hours a day during their active season. They are known to even decorate their nests during hibernation – the period during which the squirrel is awake for only 12-20 hours a week.
Squirrels are one of the most abundant species in the world, and you can read more about their habits here.