Elephants' Sleep

Japanese translation Japanese translation

Do elephants sleep for long?

Elephants, just as all other wild animals, are extremely careful and never drop their guard. Avoiding your enemies and staying alert are the most important factors in surviving in the wild.
That is one of the reasons why elephants do not sleep much, and then only with interruptions, and why the whole group basically never sleeps at the same time. Thus elephants only sleep for around 4 hours per night, and that not at a stretch either.

Do elephants sleep comfortably?

A second reason lies in their body mass. Their heavy bodies lie on a hard surface. Even when the animals get a lot of straw strewn in to their pen, they will never lie as comfortably as we humans do on a bed. Their hip bones and their cheek bones are exposed to great pressure.

Chhukha is sleeping

Who observes the elephants at night?

When we elephant wardens are on night-watch when a birth is due, we have a lot of time to observe the elephants and to be together with them intensively. Also at night.

When do elephants fall asleep?

The first elephant starts to lie down on its side towards 11 o'clock at night. Half an hour later it gets up again and eats some hay and shortly thereafter lies down again, this time on its other side.
Later a second elephant will lie down for a short sleep. A third elephant might play with a stone lying in the straw and then lie down too. Thus there is a constant lying down and getting up.

Aishu is sleeping

Do they all sleep together?

It is very rare for all the elephants to sleep at the same time. One elephant is almost always standing, awake or dozing.
Basically, there is always a lot going on in an elephants' stable. Far too much to let them sleep. It is very rarely quiet, for elephants also snore and moan in their sleep.


When is it quiet in an elephants' stable?

Towards midnight, when you hope that they are all quiet now, the bull might climb into the basin and have a bath, with a lot of splashing around. After that he'll climb out of the bath and lie down, accompanied by a lot of grumbling, to fall asleep immediately, producing a deep snore, which makes the whole house vibrate.

As soon as sleeping elephants hear a sound unknown to them they jump up and the quiet is definitely over.

When do baby elephants sleep?

Only young elephants go to sleep early in the evening, without letting themselves be disturbed by outside influences.
A little while later they get up again, drink their mother's milk, lie down in the straw and sleep on. If the mother wants to sleep, however, then they get up and try and wake their tired mother again.

Aishu and Ceyla
sleeping elephants

Do elephants also sleep during the day?

Thus it can also happen that a grown elephant takes a short nap now and then at noon in an outside pen. This requires very great familiarity with the other elephants, the wardens, the environment and all the surrounding noises.

Ceyla also sleeps during the day

When do elephants wake up?

When the sun rises in the morning, when the food warden brings the food in with his delivery cart and the elephant wardens come in to the house, then the last sleepy elephants wake up too and get up.

Indy wakes up

Are elephants chained up at night?

In a modern elephants' stable the animals are not tied up at night.
Thus every elephant can lie down where it pleases. It chooses its favourite place and its neighbour for sleeping itself.
As space is nevertheless limited, however, and there is no cleaning out of the stables during the night, the animals look correspondingly dirty in the morning.
Luckily, a large part of the morning's work consists of washing down the elephants.

How do circus elephants sleep?

Circus elephants, or elephants who are, for various reasons, also tied up at night, do not have the possibility of sleeping where they want to and it is also not possible for them to choose their neighbours for the night.
For these reasons the elephant wardens have to think through very clearly, which elephant is to be chained up next to which one. If two animals who are not very well disposed toward each other are placed next to each other, then quarrels, hassle, stress and sleepless nights are unavoidable.

sleeping circus elephants
Back to the Elephant Encyclopedia copyright
Japanese translation Japanese translation