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336753.  Thu May 15, 2008 4:44 am Reply with quote

Here's a classic.

Question: How many hours a day does a sloth sleep?

Forfeit: 15, 20, 23

Answer: About nine hours, the same as teenagers should ideally get

Sloths sleep for about 15 hours in captivity where all previous studies have been done, but in the wild, it seems like they are more active.

The female sloths slept an average of 9.6 hours a day, about six hours fewer than reported in captive sloths (and nearly two hours more than humans on average). The sloths tended to stay awake and feed during the first two-thirds of the night, finally sleeping during the remaining night hours. This nighttime pattern was also found in two additional sloths monitored for seven months.

Captive sloths don't have to stay alert for prowling cats or overhead hawks, and so they can sleep to their hearts' content.

336773.  Thu May 15, 2008 5:07 am Reply with quote

Is there a methodological issue with this research?

The LiveScience piece states:

"Rattenborg's team fitted three adult, female three-toed sloths with head caps equipped with brain sensors, as well as radio collars and accelerometers to give the animals' exact locations and movements. The research team monitored the gadgetized sloths for the next three to five days."

Now I don't know about you, but if I had a head cap and a radio collar attached to me without so much as a by-my-leave, I'm not sure I'd get as much sleep as I might otherwise have done.

(Admission of plagiarism. There's a letter on the letters page of Ceefax which makes much the same point.)

336827.  Thu May 15, 2008 5:51 am Reply with quote

I agree, but then on the other hand, it is implied in that article that they've performed the same experiment on animals in captivity which should at least act as something of a test sample.


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