The Atlantic

Wild Elephants Sleep Just Two Hours a Night

They get less than any other animal, which leaves a jumbo-sized hole in theories about why animals snooze at all.
Source: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

In April 2014, Nadine Gravett tranquilized two female elephants and fitted them with actiwatches. These small devices—the scientific version of Fitbits—record movement, and researchers can use them to measure how well volunteers are sleeping. They’re usually worn around the wrist, but that’s not an option when your subjects’ limbs are literally elephantine. So Gravett had to implant them in the females’ most mobile appendages—their trunks.

The skin around the middle of the trunk is so thick that the implants went unnoticed, and quietly recorded the animals’ movements for a month. By analyzing their data, and looking for five-minute windows when the trunks were still, Gravett could deduce when the elephants were asleep. And she found that they slept for just two hours a day on average

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