Koalas sleep for up to around 20 hours per day! This is due to a number of factors involving their diet, lifestyle and metabolism.
Yes, the impossibly adorable marsupials from the land down under, possibly mother nature’s stupidest animal, koalas sleep for upwards of 20 hours in a day. They are typically nocturnal and are therefore active at night time or at such aesthetic times as dawn and dusk.
You’re probably wondering, and rightly so, how on god’s green earth can it be possible that koalas sleep THIS much. I mean, i love sleep as much as the next guy but 20 hours out of a 24 hour period is insane!
The explanation is actually quite simple. Living deep in the Australian bush, a koala’s diet consists of almost primarily leaves. More specifically, eucalyptus leaves. Leaves, shockingly enough, don’t contain much energy and therefore aren’t the most energizing food. Since they eat a diet of only leaves, koalas sleep for 20 hours a day. In case you haven’t linked those two facts together, let me help you out. The extremely low energy intake from their diet means they must conserve more energy by sleeping much more than other marsupials (or mammals for that matter).
Add on to that the fact that eucalyptus leaves are typically toxic and thus require more energy to break down, and you’ve got a recipe for one hell of a sleep schedule.
It may seem outlandish that koalas sleep that much, but they’re not alone.
Other animals that sleep a lot
Sloths have quite the reputation for being slow and lazy. I mean, it IS kind of their whole brand. And yes, in zoo environments sloths do sleep for around 20 hours a day, similar to a koalas sleep schedule. But, in the wild, sloths only sleep for around 10 hours each day! On top of that, they are actually capable of moving quickly when the need arises. The reason they choose to move so slowly is to avoid being seen by eagles. They’re not lazy, they just don’t want to be gobbled up!
If you have a cat, you will be well aware of how much our feline friends sleep in a day. Tigers and lions are no different, sleeping for around 18 hours every day in total. This is split into several ‘cat naps’ throughout the day. The reason for this is so they can preserve energy for hunts. Because of their magnificent size and speed, they can become exhausted after just one hunt. Their hunting trips are usually only successful around 15% of the time, meaning they really need to catch up on sleep! So what’s my cat’s excuse then?!
In quite an adorable turn of events, the next animal i have to talk about is human babies! Sleeping for around 16-17 hours a day, human infants are some sleepy fellas. Now of course as any one with a baby will tell you, this is not always the case nor is it in one clean stretch.
In general, animals sleep for a lot longer than you might think. Usually, there are good survival reasons for this too. So next time you fancy a nap or feel too tired to do anything, remember you’re not alone!
Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.