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Animals and Hibernating: Are They Really Asleep?

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Are sloths the laziest animal? Learn the truth!

Sleep, as you know, is a fundamental part of life. You need it, your dog or cat needs it, and even animals in the wild need it. While humans require a certain amount of slumber each night to function optimally and remain physically and mentally healthy (hint: usually seven to nine hours!), for animals, there’s a whole other set of criteria.

How much sleep do animals need? Of course, the answer to this question will vary by species, but there’s one thing that we know for certain—some animals spend way more time asleep every single day than humans do!

Although sloths are commonly assumed to be lazy and sleepy, believe it or not, they don’t even break the top 10 list of animals that sleep the most. On the contrary, three-toed sloths come in at number 12, clocking in 14.4 hours of sleep per day, on average.

Check out the five animals that sleep the most, on average.

  1. Brown Bat: 19.9 hours per day.
  2. Giant Armadillo: 18.1 hours per day.
  3. North American Opossum: 18 hours per day.
  4. Python: 18 hours per day.
  5. Owl Monkey: 17 hours per day.

If you have a dog or cat at home, you might be used to animals sleeping for large portions of the day—after all, dogs snooze an average of 14 hours a day, and cats rack up an average of 15 hours a day. Why, exactly, do these animals sleep so much? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer, although for certain animals, like dogs, size appears to have something to do with it (which may be why larger breeds spend more time sleeping than smaller ones). There may also be a correlation between brain size and sleep (animals with big brains for their body size need significantly more Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep), as well as metabolic rate and sleep (species with high metabolic rates for their size need less non-REM sleep).