Friday, July 28, 2006
Sleeping away their blues
Humans are not the only creatures who love their sleep. Animals too love tosleep, though their sleeping routine follows a strange pattern. We know that bears, ground hogs and opossums sleep all through winter. Though once in a while they do wake up. Can you believe that there are a few animals that sleep or hibernate right into spring without opening their eyes even once? These great sleepers are woodchucks and ground squirrels, their body temperatures dropping to near freezing point while they hibernate. Though a woodchuck may be the longest sleeper in the animal kingdom, they are in no way the strangest. The extremely naughty and playful sea otter takes his much needed sleep floating on its back in the water. The sea otter anchors itself to a piece of seaweed so that it will not drift off while sleeping. The otter's fine fur keeps the animal warm and cosy during its watery nap.
Bats sleep while hanging upside down and their favourite places are caves. Fish sleep with their eyes wide open, because the poor creatures have no eyelids to shut. But there is a particular type of fish that does not sleep at all. You guessed it, it is the shark.
The Alaskan blackfish takes the prize for being the strangest sleeper. When the cold Arctic winter comes, the waters, which are home to the blackfish, freeze. The black fish too freezes. Most people would assume that the black fish is dead. But the blackfish does not die but is in a state of suspended animation. Because a few months later with the arrival of spring the ice starts to melt and the black fish comes back to life. The walrus, like the whales and seals, enjoys travelling solo in the sea. But when it is time to snooze they all group together. They use their tusks to pull themselves up onto ice floes and lie down for a snooze, sometimes several hundred of them on one floe! All through the night members of the group take turns watching for attacking polar bears and killer whales. If one is spotted the guard flops over his friends and dives into the water, followed by his sleepy companions.
Posted by Jeevan at 7:02 AM