Elephants can stay awake up to 46 hours at a time
Elephants normally only sleep for two hours between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK, BOTSWANA — Elephants don’t seem to need to sleep as much as other mammals, according to a recent study.
“Elephants are the shortest sleeping mammal — that seems to be related to their large body size,” Paul Manger, a research professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and lead author of the study told BBC News. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The researchers monitored two free-roaming female African elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana for 35 days. Data shows the elephants normally only sleep for two hours between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
According to the study, the elephants can stay awake up to 46 hours while walking as far as 30 km. They only went into rapid eye movement sleep every three or four days. REM sleep is believed to be critical in memory consolidation.
The study does not answer the question of how elephants managed to survive on such limited sleep. The researchers are planning to do follow-up research on more elephants.
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