12 Wild Animals That Are Way Too Sleepy
8. African Leopard
The African leopard is a large, strong cat that, despite its natural camouflage, relies on ambush to capture prey. The reason for this is that its favorite meal, the Thomson’s gazelle, is often too fast for it. The leopard is the only real tree climber among the big cats, and must compete for meals with tigers and hyenas, which can inflict serious harm and steal the kill. After making a kill, leopards prefer to drag their meal up a tree, where the leopard can eat safely without threats from other predators. The leopard relies on its camouflage to get as close as possible to its target, and must be within a few feet to successfully ambush its prey. It spends the hot day asleep in a tree, where it is camouflaged by leaves, and hunts by night. Leopards can sleep up to 20 hours per day.
Squirrels seem so active that it’s hard to picture them as sleep lovers, but they average about 15 hours per day. The sleep patterns of squirrels depend on whether they are ground squirrels or tree squirrels. Ground squirrels forage above ground for food and hide their young in cozy underground dens. Tree squirrels tend to build nests for their young in the trees and may emerge less frequently in summer and winter. Both tend to be active during the day and catch up on their sleep at night. In winter, the ground squirrel hibernates for approximately five months. During this period, it is active once per week for 12 to 20 hours. Tree squirrels, on the other hand, do not hibernate and try to remain active to escape winter’s chill. In hotter, dryer weather, ground squirrels will enter a state called estivation, which is much like hibernation, and can last two or three months.
6. Sea Otter
Sea otters are almost exclusively aquatic animals and spend very little time on land. Unlike the river otter that sleeps on land, sea otters sleep in the water. Their favorite position is lying on their backs afloat on the surface of the water. To keep from getting swept out with the tide, they often sleep in pairs or small groups, holding hands to secure themselves. If no other otters are available, they may also wrap themselves up with strands of kelp and anchor themselves to a rock or log to keep from drifting off. Sea otters typically sleep for 10 or 11 hours.
5. Baby Pangolin
The pangolin resembles an anteater, and while they both subsist on a diet of insects, they are not closely related. The pangolin has a tongue that is nearly as long as its body, which it uses to scoop up ants and termites. The tongue is not attached to its mouth, but to its rib cage, and is kept retracted in a chest cavity when not extended. Pangolins are nocturnal and will spend their days sleeping. The baby pangolin lacks the hardened armor-like scales of the adult, and clings to its mother’s back for protection, even when sleeping.
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