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Behavioral sleep in the giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis) in a zoological garden


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Behavioural sleep was assessed for 152 nights in 5 adult, 2 immature and 1 juvenile giraffes at a zoological garden, using continuous time-lapse video recording. Sleep occurred while the giraffes were standing (SS) and in recumbency (RS). Paradoxical sleep (PS) was recognized by the peculiar positioning of the head on the croup and by phasic events. The 24-h sleep profile had a main bimodal nocturnal sleep period between 20.00 and 07.00 hours, with a trough between 02.00 and 04.00 hours, and several short naps between 12.00 and 16.00 hours. Total sleep time (TST), excluding the juvenile, was 4.6 h, whereby PS comprised only 4.7%. TST was not age dependent, but the lowest amount of RS and the highest amount of SS occurred in the oldest and the two oldest animals, respectively. Sleep was fragmented, as indicated by the predominance of RS episodes lasting less than 11 min. Sleep cycle duration was very variable with most values between 1 and 35 min (when no waking or RS was allowed within PS episodes), or 6-35 min (when the criteria for ending a PS episode allowed 1-2 min interruptions by RS). There were several indications for sleep regulation: (i) RS and SS complemented each other to yield a relatively stable daily value of TST; (ii) sleep was redistributed on nights following a day when the giraffes spent a few hours in an outside enclosure. The first peak of the bimodal sleep profile was absent and RS was more prominent in the second half of the night compared with nights following days spent in the barn; and (iii) napping was followed by a minor reduction of RS and an increase in SS in the subsequent night compared with nights following days without naps.
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J. Sleep Res. (1996) 5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the girae(Giraffa camelopardalis)ina
zoological garden
Institute of Pharmacology, University of Zu
¨rich, Zu
¨rich, Switzerland
Accepted 10 January 1996; received 17 November 1995
Behavioural sleep was assessed for 152 nights in 5 adult, 2 immature and 1 juvenile
giraes at a zoological garden, using continuous time-lapse video recording. Sleep
occurred while the giraes were standing (SS) and in recumbency (RS). Paradoxical
sleep (PS) was recognized by the peculiar positioning of the head on the croup and
by phasic events. The 24-h sleep profile had a main bimodal nocturnal sleep period
between 20.00 and 07.00 hours, with a trough between 02.00 and 04.00 hours, and
several short naps between 12.00 and 16.00 hours. Total sleep time (TST), excluding
the juvenile, was 4.6 h, whereby PS comprised only 4.7%. TST was not age dependent,
but the lowest amount of RS and the highest amount of SS occurred in the oldest
and the two oldest animals, respectively. Sleep was fragmented, as indicated by the
predominance of RS episodes lasting less than 11 min. Sleep cycle duration was very
variable with most values between 1 and 35 min (when no waking or RS was allowed
within PS episodes), or 6–35 min (when the criteria for ending a PS episode allowed
1–2 min interruptions by RS).
There were several indications for sleep regulation: (i) RS and SS complemented
each other to yield a relatively stable daily value of TST; (ii) sleep was redistributed
on nights following a day when the giraes spent a few hours in an outside enclosure.
The first peak of the bimodal sleep profile was absent and RS was more prominent
in the second half of the night compared with nights following days spent in the barn;
and (iii) napping was followed by a minor reduction of RS and an increase in SS in
the subsequent night compared with nights following days without naps.
 age, behavioural sleep, girae, nap, sleep regulation
INTRODUCTION sleep quotas are the body mass index, brain weight and
metabolic rate (Zepelin and Rechtschaen 1974; Allison and
Little is known about the sleep behaviour of large herbivores, Cicchetti 1976; Elgar et al. 1988; Zepelin 1994). The amount
especiallythosewhicharenotdomesticated.Zoologicalgardens of sleep decreases as a function of increasing body mass, or
provide an environment where observations of animals in semi- brain weight, but the latter is a better predictor of daily sleep
wild conditions are possible. In addition, modern technology quotas than either body weight or metabolic rate. ‘Danger
allows continuous observation with light-sensitive cameras of variables based on asubjective index consisting ofthe predation
animals in zoo enclosures, so that the animals are undisturbed risk were also found to be better predictors of total sleep time
by the observer or by additional light. thanbody or brain weight(Meddis 1983). Correlationsbetween
Total sleep time exhibits a large species variation (Zepelin the amount of paradoxical sleep (PS) and the danger of
and Rechtschaen 1974; Campbell and Tobler 1984). The predation showed that animals with a small predation index
amount of sleep in ungulates is of special interest because some (e.g. small rodents, large carnivores) exhibit more PS, whereas
of the constitutional variables which correlate best with daily the ungulates, particularly the undomesticated species, exhibit
little PS (Allison and Cicchetti 1976). The domesticated
herbivores seem to have retained this feature as they also
Correspondence: Prof. Irene Tobler Ph.D. Institute of Pharmacology
exhibit little sleep. However, the sleep data of large animals
University of Zu
¨rich Winterthurerstrasse 190 CH-8057 Zu
Switzerland. Tel.: +41/ 1-257-2957; Fax: +41/ 1-257-5707
such as the girae and the elephant (which contribute to
1996 European Sleep Research Society
22 I. Tobler and B. Schwierin
the correlations), are based on direct observations of few ‘deep sleep’ was considered as sleep. Since drowsiness was
individuals and the reliability of the data can be questioned. dicult to define it was not quantified (Immelmann 1958).
The exclusion of large grazing animals considerably weakened A subsequent investigation which comprised 20 nights of
the correlation between body size and total sleep time (Meddis continuous observation and 20 nights of observations until
1983), but was again strong if smaller grazing species were also after midnight, found that adults did not engage in
excluded (Elgar et al. 1988). recumbency during the day, whereas the 4-month old juvenile
Several factors may contribute to the small amounts of sleep lay down 2–3 times at mid-day for 10 min but did not
reported for ungulates. In a zoological garden they are rarely sleep (Immelmann and Gebbing 1962). The adults became
seen sleeping, possibly due to the frequent disturbances by the quiet at this time, either ruminating or standing completely
public. In addition, observations at night, when it is more still.
probable that the animals are sleeping, are influenced by the These observations were complemented by a 3-week
presence of the observer. Wild animals do have the capacity continuous observation of two captive females, 3 y and 9 y
tofurther reduce theirsleep whenthe circumstances areadverse old (the latter was shortly before parturition) in the Bualo
(Hediger 1983, 1985). Zoological Garden (Kristal and Noonan 1979). ‘Deep’ sleep
An additional factor contributing to the short sleep (assumed to correspond to fast-wave sleep) was short (1–10
duration in ungulates (compared, e.g. with carnivores) is the min) and occurred only 1–2 times per night, whereas 3–8
vegetarian diet which necessitates large amounts of food reclining episodes lasting 3–75 min were present, with the
intake. In the wild, an adult girae bull consumes 37kg longer ones later in the night. Cud was chewed during most
of food per day (Moss 1975). Thus a large amount of the of the time spent in recumbency. Most of the reclining time
24h is spent in feeding and ruminating. EEG recordings in was spent with the neck in a vertical position, but occasionally
domesticated herbivores have shown that rumination and S-sleep (assumed to correspond to slow-wave or light sleep),
sleep are not exclusive behaviours. Non-REM sleep, but not occurred in episodes lasting from 5 to 30 min. S-sleep was
PS can occur during rumination (Ruckebusch and Bell 1970; characterized by the absence of cud chewing and a relaxation
Bell and Itabisashi 1972; Ruckebusch and Dougherty 1974). of the neck, which remained in a vertical position. D-sleep
In girae calves, complete rumination, which begins when began only after a long period of reclining rest or S-sleep. In
suckling is ended, occurred at the age of 6–8 months D-sleep the neck and head were lowered until the head rested
(Langman 1977). on the hip or thigh (‘sleeping swan’) and the eyes were closed.
Grzimek (1956) described the sleeping behaviour of four A similar sleep posture was reported for giraes observed in
well-adapted giraes observed for 14 nights in the Frankfurter the wild (Mejia in Moss 1975). During the first two days of its
Zoo, and disproved the common belief that giraes do not life the calf spent 25% of 24 h sleeping with 90% in the D-
sleep at all. The opinion was that animals which are in danger sleep posture (Kristal and Noonan 1979).
of predation must compromise between the need for In the wild, i.e. in Kenya, Zaire, Tanzania and South Africa,
recuperation and avoidance of predators. He published the only day-time activities have been quantified for the girae
first photograph of an adult girae sleeping with its neck bent (Leuthold and Leuthold 1978; Foster; Mejia, Innis, Backhaus,
backwards resting the tip of its head on the ground, behind in Moss 1975). Most of these studies did not include night
the laterally extended hind limb (reproduced in Zepelin 1994; observations or the data were collected on full moon nights.
see also Fig. 1). Earlier, Hediger (1955) had published a photo Often all girae in a herd were seen standing or lying in one
of a young girae in a similar position, where the head tip place, and chewing. Rumination comprised 3–5 h per day. In
rests on the croup and the hind leg is extended towards addition, 2–3 h were spent lying down without chewing (males
the front in parallel with the abdomen. These postures were sometimes during daytime, females usually only at night).
considered typical for ‘deep sleep’, and are not unique to the These animals lay on the brisket, with legs curled under them
girae. Okapi, the closest relative of the girae, antelope and and the neck and head held upright. ‘Deep sleep’, with the
cow also bend their neck backwards, but not only the tip of head resting onthe flank,lasted only about1 min,and occurred
the head but the entire head can be placed on the croup (the for no more than 5–30 min per day. Only this position was
long neck of the adult girae does not allow a positioning on considered to correspond to sleep. Sometime after midnight
the croup). This posture in giraes was later described again, the animals stopped feeding and lay down and ruminated for
being referred to as D-sleep (‘deep’ sleep) and assumed to 2–3 h. At this time they slept for very short intervals. An age
represent fast-wave sleep (Kristal and Noonan 1978). dependence of the amount of time spent lying was observed
Grzimek (1956) reported that adult giraes spent 6.5h (Langman 1977). Time in recumbency decreased from infants
in recumbency with five ‘deep sleep’ episodes lasting 2.5–6 (0–60 d) to juveniles (60d–1.5 y) and was least in theimmature
min (total ‘deep sleep’: 21 min in the adult, 63–70 min in (1.5–3 y female, 1.5–4 y male).
the 4-month old juvenile). The same data analysed later in The aims of this study were to describe and quantify sleep
more detail resulted in 7–9 h per night in recumbency, with behaviour, assess its 24-h pattern and to investigate the eects
2–3 recumbent episodes of 11 min to 3h interrupted by of age and daytime access to an outdoor pen in a group of
1 hour of waking spent in feeding and defaecation. Most
of recumbency was described as a drowsy state and only giraes kept in the Emmen Zoo.
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the giraffe 23
Table 1 Time of day of main sleep period
Gender Age (y) N Sleep onset Wake onset
(RS or SS)
Twanja f 0.2 juvenile 6 19.00 (7.4) 06.00 (9.3)
Raisa f 2.1 adolescent 25 20.06 (7.7) 06.18 (11.8)
Hans m 2.2 adolescent 25 20.36 (8.6) 05.54 (14.5)
Naomi f 3.4 adult 22 19.30 (10.7) 06.18 (14.1)
Augusta f 3.5 adult 25 20.36 (10.3) 06.12 (8.3)
Tiny f 3.6 adult 18 21.24 (13.2) 06.36 (9.6)
Taos f 13 mother 6 19.54 (14.9) 06.42 (8.7)
Cornelia f 20 adult 25 21.24 (16.7) 06.30 (8.6)
Mean (n=8) 20.18 (18.1) 06.18 (5.9)
Mean (n=7)
20.30 (16.7) 06.24 (6.0)
Time of day is the mean time (±SEM in minutes), over all days per individual or
mean value
excluding Twanja; n=number of animals. RS=recumbent sleep, SS=standing sleep; N=
number of days.
METHODS nights of Group 2, Naomi (7 nights) or Tiny (1 night) remained
inGroup1andcouldnot be assessed. Recordings were obtained
The behaviour of 8 giraes (Giraffa camelopardalis) (age 0.2 for 25d (Group 1) and 6 d (Group 2).
months–20 y; 5 adult females, 2 adolescents, a male and female
and one juvenile female; Table 1) was recorded continuously RESULTS
on two time-lapse video recorders (Panasonic AG-6720 A) for
6–25d during the hours when the animals were in the animal Behavioural states
house of a zoological garden. The recordings were performed Waking was scored when the animals were standing or
with two infrared sensitive cameras (CCD, with automatic recumbent, but moving. Waking behaviour during the night
time-lapse shutter) and infrared illuminators (Sennheiser, SZI consisted largely of feeding. Sleep occurred in a recumbent
1019A, 950 nm), allowing data collection in the undisturbed (RS) and standing posture (SS). SS was scored when the
animals. The cameras were mounted on opposite sides of the animals were motionless(including theears, which wereusually
enclosure (at a height of 8–10m) to ensure that the entire directed backwards), and the neck position was at a narrower
enclosure was visible. The giraes were kept in one of several angle relative to the ground, than was the case during waking.
enclosures (9.60×5.85m) within a barn. When the weather SS usually alternated with short waking episodes, characterized
was mild the animals were allowed to go outside into a large by righting of the neck and head lifting accompanied by ear
park next to the girae house, shared with animals of several movements. SS closely resembled the standing sleep reported
other African species, for 2–6 h between 09.40 and 16.30 hours. earlier in elephants (Tobler 1992). In recumbency the animals
Thereafter they were returned to adjacent pens in the giraecould either be awake or sleeping. The posture in RS was
house, where food was available. An artificial LD cycle typical for ungulates (Fig. 1): lying on the brisket and the
provided light from 06.40 to 18.40 hours; light intensity, 95–110 abdomen or flank with the legs folded under and slightly
lx. In addition several windows provided natural daylight. The displaced to the sides; the neck bent forward at an angle of
recordings were performed in spring (March–April) in Holland
70°from the ground (sometimes even as little as 30°), i.e.
(53°15 min latitude). in a position less vertical than that of waking; and the neck
The video systems simultaneously recorded 24 h of real time and head immobile. The neck angle relative to the ground
on a 3-h tape. The tapes were played back at normal speed could not be determined reliably due to the placement of the
(50 half-frames per second) and the behaviour of the animals cameras above the animals. Therefore, the changes in angle
was visually scored for 1-min epochs. Epochs lasting <30s could not be used for scoring the behavioural states. The
were not considered, whereas epochs lasting between 30 and presence or absence of chewing was not considered a criterion
59s were rounded to 1 min. For scoring of the individual for RS or waking (uninterrupted chewing could occur for long
animals, the two tapes recorded simultaneously from dierent intervals, i.e. 30 min, while no other motor activity was
angles of the barn, were compared. Missing values due to lack evident). PS was scored when in RS the animals suddenly bent
of visibility of the giraes occurred only in one girae (Naomi) the neck backwards and rested the head on the flank of a rear
in 3 of the 22d (missing: 36, 73 and 140 min). leg (Fig. 1). During these PS episodes phasic events were
The giraes were kept in 2 groups: Group 1 consisted of 5 sometimes apparent, consisting of twitches of the ears and
females and 1 male, Group 2 consisted of a mother and her neck.
female juvenile progeny. The two groups were kept in adjacent The transition from locomotion to RS was gradual. Thus
enclosures. Either Group 1 or Group 2 was placed into the
enclosurewherethe cameras were installed. On severalrecorded individuals had a preferred sleeping site within the enclosure
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
24 I. Tobler and B. Schwierin
Figure 1. Behavioural changes leading to postures typical for the vigilance states recumbent sleep (bottom left) and PS (bottom right).
which they would approach several times before finally taking an adult and the immature male, are illustrated in Figs 2 and
3. On several days napping episodes were evident. On mosta recumbent posture. The transition from recumbent
wakefulness to RS could occur several times before a PS days the main sleep period was between 20.00 and 07.00 hours.
episode could be seen. The occurrence of SS was not related
to the subsequent RS. Sleep profile
Sleep rarely occurred outside the barn (our own occasional The mean 24-h sleep profile is illustrated in Fig. 4. It exhibited a
observations and personal communication from the similar bimodal pattern in all the individuals with RS occurring
caretakers). The animals were always returned to the barn between 20.00 and 07.00 hours, with a small trough between
before 17.00 hours, and thereafter spent several hours feeding. 02.00 and 04.00 hours. SS occurred more frequently towards
Sleep onset was defined as the time of day when sleep occurred the end of the sleep period (ANOVA factor interval from 18.00
for at least 3 consecutive minutes. Sleep onset was at 20.18 to 08.00 hours, N=6, d.f.=13, SS F=4.15; RS F=8.54, PS
hours (±18.1 min; N=8) and the end of the sleep period was F=4.12, all vigilance states P<0.0001, except PS/TST which
at 06.18 hours (±5.9 min). The time of day when sleep began was n.s.). In the comparison of the first and second half of the
did not dier between nights following a day with access to night, SS was significantly more abundant in the second half
the outside enclosure (20.6 hours±23.8 min) vs. nights (P<0.02, two-tailed paired t-test). PS was evenly distributed
following days spent inside (20.6 hours±22.0 min).
Thevigilancestateson8consecutivedaysfortwoindividuals, across the entire night.
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the giraffe 25
Figure 2. Vigilance states of an individual adult female girae (Augusta, age 3.5 years) recorded for eight consecutive nights. W=waking while
in locomotion or moving, WR=waking recumbent, SS=standing sleep, RS=recumbent sleep, PS=paradoxical sleep.
The mean 24-h-values of the vigilance states are presented unchanged when the data were restricted to days when the
animals were not allowed Table 2 and Fig. 5. Total sleep time expressed as a percentage
of24 h varied between 14.4and 22.4% with sleep ina recumbent
position between 6.4 and 20.4% of 24h. A one-way ANOVA Sleep episode duration
factor ‘age’, for the amount of each of the vigilance states was The PS episodes were short, with 24% lasting less than 1
significant for all stages including TST (d.f.=7, SS F=21.31, min (Fig. 6, Table 3). The longest PS episodes occurred in the
RS F=20.72, PS F=8.41, TST F=7.37, all vigilance states juvenile, which exhibited also the largest variability in PS
P<0.0001). While no age relationship was evident for TST in duration. The inclusion of a maximum interruption criterion
the post-hoc analysis, the lowest amount of RS was present in of 2 min RS to interrupt PS did not have a large eect on the
the oldest girae and SS was most prominent in the oldest two duration of PS episodes (mean duration in minutes: 4.3±0.3,
giraes (comprising 7.5% of 24 h; Fig. 5, Duncan multiple N=8; 4.1±0.23, N=7; Table 3). The mean duration of RS
range test, P<0.05). The juvenile never exhibited SS. An age episodes (excluding PS) varied between 8.1 and 13.2 min,
dependence became evident for the total time in recumbency, although single RS episodes could last for up to 100 min. Of
irrespective of whether the animals were asleep or in all RS episodes 58.7%±2.4 (N=7) were shorter than 11 min
wakefulness (Table 2). The oldest animal exhibited the lowest (data not shown). No evident age relationship was present for
amount and the youngest the highest amount of recumbency
(Duncan multiple range test, P<0.05). This result was episode duration of any vigilance state, with the exception
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
26 I. Tobler and B. Schwierin
Figure 3. Vigilance states of an individual immature male girae (Hans, age 2.2y) recorded for eight consecuitve nights. W=waking while in
locomotion or moving, WR=waking recumbent, SS=standing sleep, RS=recumbent sleep, PS=paradoxical sleep.
that the juvenile exhibited the shortest RS episodes (Duncan Access to outdoor pen
multiple range test, P<0.05; N=8). Only Group 1 had access to the outdoor pen (mean duration
of time spent outdoors 5.0 h±1.4 min, N=5; range 2.1–6.7 h;
Sleep cycle duration on N=10d the entire group remained inside due to bad
weather, and the male (Hans) was outside on only two of the
A PS cycle was defined as the interval between the onset of 24 d and was excluded from the analysis). Since the juvenile
two consecutive PS episodes. When no interruptions of the female (Twanja) was still too young to be allowed outside in
cycle were allowed by other vigilance states, there was a large the early spring weather, the mother (Taos) and the juvenile
peak of PS cycles of 1–5 min duration and an even distribution always remained inside the barn. The comparison of the sleep
of cycles of 6–35 min duration (Fig. 7, top left). The inclusion states and their distribution on nights (18.00–08.00 hours)
ofacriterion allowing <5 min of wakingassingle or consecutive following a day spent outdoors with nights following upon
1-min epochs within a PS cycle did not have a major eect on days when the animals remained in the barn resulted in a
this distribution (Fig. 7, top right). Allowing 1 or 2 min RS significant redistribution of TST (Fig. 8; ANOVA factor
within a PS episode with or without the waking criterion interaction ‘condition interval’ for 1-h intervals, d.f.=13,
reduced the frequency of PS cycles Ζ5 min, whereas the
distribution of cycles between 6 and 35 min remained similar. F=2.43, P<0.007). The biphasic sleep pattern was less
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the giraffe 27
compriseatleast 5 min between 08.00 and17.00 hours. Daytime
sleep was usually seen between 12.00 and 16.00 hours in some
of the giraes (Figs 2, 3, 4, Table 2). The total duration of
daytime sleep is illustrated in the frequency histogram (Fig. 9).
The amount of daytime sleep was small since most naps
were short, comprising 5–50 min, but occasionally reaching a
cumulative value of 50–90 min.
The comparison of sleep duration in the nights following a
day with or without daytime sleep (N=3–15 vs. N=10d with
daytime sleep in 4 giraes; daytime sleep < than 10 min was
excluded from this analysis) resulted in a significantly lower
RS value (48.1 min) after daytime sleep and an increase in
SS (15.2 min; P<0.04, two-tailed paired t-test); whereas TST
remained unchanged. The results were not aected when the
exclusion criterion of <10 min for daytime sleep was eliminated
(N=1–17 vs. N=4–10 days with daytime sleep, in 5 giraes).
The duration of all daytime sleep episodes did not correlate
significantly with TST on the subsequent night, or with the
amount of RS alone (r
=0.06 for TST and for RS).
The animals obtained a relatively low amount of sleep per
24h, although we did include SS, which previously has never
been quantified in giraes, and RS which due to the frequent
rumination bouts was not considered as sleep. However, the
4.6 h are more than usually reported for the girae, since most
other studies were influenced by the notion that girae sleep
only in the ‘deep sleep’ posture, which corresponds to the
behavioural PS scored in our study. Kristal andNoonan (1979)
did describe S-sleep (behavioural sleep in recumbency), but did
not report its amount in the adults. In contrast to their study
we chose to exclude chewing in recumbency as a criterion for
waking. EEG recordings in cattle and sheep have shown that
nonREM sleep occurs during cud chewing (Ruckebusch et al.
Figure 4. Daily distribution of the vigilance states. The lines connect
1974; Bell and Itabisashi 1993).
mean hourly values. Top panel: mean values per hour (N=6
giraes) recorded for 18–25d, middle panel: a 13-y old female,
SS has also been observed in the elephant (Tobler 1992), the
mother of the juvenile female (3-month old, lower panel). The
behaviour during this state being very similar in elephants and
mother and the juvenile were simultaneously recorded for 6d. Black
giraes. However, in the giraes it did not precede RS as was
area, paradoxical sleep (PS), dashed area, recumbent sleep (RS),
often the case in the elephants, and is was not interrupted by
white area, standing sleep (SS). Total area under the curve represents
total sleep time.
short waking bouts characterized by swaying movements of
the body and head (and flapping the ears) as in the elephants.
It has been shown on the basis of EEG recordings for many
ungulates that sleep can occur in a standing position (e.g.
prominent when the animals had been outside, since the lower Ruckebusch and Bell 1970). On the basis of such data it can
values between 02.00 and 04.00 hours were absent. While be assumed that the behaviourobserved in the standing giraes,
TST over the entire night or the 24h was unaected, it was scored here as SS, could indeed be considered sleep. The
significantly decreased in the second half of the night following inclusion of SS did not have a large eect on the TST reported
an indoor day vs. a day with access to the outside enclosure here since SS comprised only 47 min of 24 h. In general, RS
(mean values in minutes after days: inside 131.2±5.4, outdoors episodes were short (58.7% RS episodes were shorter than 10
150.3±3.2; N=5; P<0.008, two-tailed paired t-test). min; in the juvenile over 70% were shorter than 10 min). Thus
sleep in girae is very fragmented. Possibly the long legs and
Effect of daytime sleep neck contribute to a dicult recumbent sleeping posture which
does not allow quick fleeing as a response to external stimuli.
Napping (SS, RS and PS) was scored on those days when the
animals remained indoors. A daytime sleep episode had to The diculties in raising from the ground could contribute to
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28 I. Tobler and B. Schwierin
Table 2 Duration of vigilance states, recumbency and daytime sleep
Twanja 0.2 5 0.0 (0.0) 15.0 (0.6) 1.4 (0.3) 16.4 (0.4) 8.6 (1.8) 16.4 (0.4) 1 0.6 40.7 (1.6)
Raisa 2.1 25 1.5 (0.4) 17.3 (1.0) 0.7 (0.1) 18.1 (1.0) 3.7 (0.4) 19.6 (0.9) 3 1.0 (0.3) 25.2 (1.1)
Hans 2.2 25 0.8 (0.2) 18.3 (1.0) 1.3 (0.1) 19.6 (1.0) 7.0 (0.8) 20.4 (1.0) 17 1.9 (0.3) 30.7 (0.8)
Naomi 3.4 22 0.9 (0.4) 20.4 (1.0) 1.1 (0.1) 21.5 (1.1) 4.9 (0.5) 22.4 (1.1) 6 4.0 (0.5) 32.0 (1.2)
Augusta 3.5 25 2.1 (0.4) 17.5 (0.9) 1.1 (0.1) 18.6 (0.9) 5.6 (0.6) 20.7 (0.8) 7 1.0 (0.2) 26.7 (0.9)
Tiny 3.6 18 2.9 (0.6) 12.2 (0.9) 0.8 (0.1) 13.0 (1.0) 4.9 (0.5) 16.0 (0.9) 0 0.0 (0.0) 18.4 (1.2)
Taos 13 6 7.5 (2.0) 11.8 (2.1) 0.7 (0.2) 12.5 (2.1) 3.4 (0.9) 20.1 (0.7) 0 0.0 (0.0) 16.4 (2.7)
Cornelia 20 25 7.5 (0.8) 6.4 (1.0) 0.4 (0.1) 6.9 (1.1) 3.1 (0.7) 14.4 (1.1) 0 0.0 (0.0) 11.1 (1.5)
Mean (n=8) 2.9 (1.1) 14.9 (1.6) 1.0 (0.1) 15.8 (1.7) 5.1 (0.7) 18.7 (1.0) 25.1 (3.4)
Mean (n=7)
3.3 (1.1) 14.9 (1.8) 0.9 (0.1) 15.7 (1.9) 4.7 (0.5) 19.1 (1.1) 22.9 (3.0)
Sleep was subdivided into standing (SS), recumbent (RS) and paradoxical sleep (PS). REC=total time spent in recumbency. Total sleep (TST)
includes the three subdivisions of sleep. Mean values in percentage of 24h (±SEM) except for PS/TST; age in years; n=number of animals;
N=number of days or number of days with daytime sleep; Nap=TST between 12:00 and 16:00 hours;
mean value excluding Twanja.
Figure 5. Vigilance states represented as a
function of age. The bars represent mean
values±s.e.m. as percentage of 24h for total
sleep, standing sleep and recumbent sleep, and as
percentage of total sleep time for paradoxical
sleep (note the dierent scale for paradoxical
sleep). The age of the animals is indicated below
the bars.
the short duration of sleep and maybe to the development of that PS is less abundant and of shorter duration in animals
with a large predatory index (Allison and Cicchetti 1976). Thethe capacity to obtain sleep in a standing posture. Elephants
havediculties in rising easily fromrecumbency,also; however, question remains open as to whether the PS described here
(which others have quantified as ‘deep sleep’) corresponds tothe mean duration of their RS (which included PS) was 61–77
min (Tobler 1992). It is probable that elephants are less REMsleep found in othermammals; this needsto beconfirmed
by electroencephalography. The remarkable posture, thesusceptible to predation than girae.
The PS episodes were brief, usually below 3 min and they concomitant phasic events and the EEG findings in species
such as horse, cattle, sheep and piglets showing that PS isonly amounted to 13 min per 24h or 4.7% of TST. These
values are similar to those for ‘deep sleep’ episodes which attained only when in recumbency and the head can be rested
(Ruckebusch et al. 1974), are a strong indication that thelasted 1–10 min in 1–2 episodes per night reported by Kristal
and Noonan (1979) and the 2.5–6 min-episodes found by behavioural PS defined in the girae is a correlate of PS as
described by EEG patterns in other mammals. In summary,Grzimek (1956). Thus the present data support the hypothesis
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the giraffe 29
min in a 4-month old, but similar to the 21 min in the adults
(Grzimek 1956). Although no age eect was found for PS, the
juvenile did exhibit the largest variation in the duration of PS
episodes, but as in many other species PS/TST was most
prominent in the youngest animal. In addition, RS episodes
were shortest in the juvenile, indicating that her sleep was the
most fragmented. SS was never observed in this animal, which
is reminiscent of the late appearance of SS in the developing
young elephant (Tobler 1992).
An additional factor which may explain the larger dierence
between young and adults in both elephants and giraes is
that young giraes have only a weak bond with their mother
except during the first few days after birth, in contrast to the
strong bond lasting for several years in the elephant. However,
Langman (1977) who investigated the cow–calf relationship in
giraes observed cases of a strong relationship between the
girae cow and calf which lasted until the cow’s next calving.
Girae calf usually suckle only until approx. one month of
age, but up to one year has been seen, whereas elephants suckle
3–4 years. A girae calf stays with its mother till 16–18 months
(usually in a ‘kindergarten’, i.e. nursery) when it becomes
independent. Sexual maturation is reached at 4 years. Our
Figure 6. Frequency distribution of paradoxical sleep episodes. Bars
juvenile was never observed suckling, which indicates a
represent mean values±s.e.m. computed for 10-min bins of N=7
relatively large independence from the mother.
giraes (top panel) and the single juvenile female (bottom panel).
An age dependence in the amount of time spent lying was
Data are expressed as percentage of the total amount of episodes for
seen in giraes in the wild, but no details are given (Langman
each individual. Note the dierent scale of the top and the lower
1977). The adult male was seen only once sleeping for 10 min
motionless in a standing position with his eyes closed. In the
zoo total time spent in recumbency (7–9h) did not dier
between the adults and the single juvenile (Grzimek 1956).
the present data suggest that sleep duration in the girae has The juvenile did get up more frequently but returned into
been underestimated. recumbency more rapidly than the adults. In the present study
It is well known that for many mammalian species the the juvenile exhibited the largest amount of total recumbency
amounts of each sleep stage depends on the age and level of and the oldest girae the smallest amount (Table 2). Also,
development at birth (rat, cat, guinea pig: Jouvet-Mounier et another ungulate exhibited an age-dependent amount of time
al. 1969; piglet: Kuipers and Whatson 1979). Due to the age spent in recumbency: foals (7.1% of 24 h), stallion (2.4%), and
distribution in our giraes such aspects could be addressed. mares (3.6%) (Bubenik 1978). The oldest giraes exhibited the
However, the 3-month old juvenile borders on to the next age lowest amount of RS and largest amount of SS. Assuming that
category of ‘immature’, and cannot be expected to reflect the the reclining position involves considerable eort (Fig. 1), it
sleep states of a young animal. The amount of PS in the 3-
month old female was 20 min which was less than the 63–72 could explain why these older animals obtained less RS and
Table 3 Duration of vigilance state
Age (y) PS N RS N SS N
Twanja 0.2 5.6 (1.0) 18 8.1 (0.4) 152 0.0 (0.0) 0
Raisa 2.1 2.9 (0.2) 94 13.2 (0.5) 473 5.7 (0.6) 94
Hans 2.2 4.9 (0.2) 99 11.1 (0.4) 591 5.4 (0.7) 53
Naomi 3.4 3.8 (0.3) 92 12.0 (0.5) 536 5.3 (0.9) 52
Augusta 3.5 3.5 (0.2) 118 10.9 (0.4) 578 6.7 (0.6) 112
Tiny 3.6 3.8 (0.4) 54 10.0 (0.5) 316 6.9 (0.6) 111
Taos 13 3.2 (0.4) 19 11.4 (1.1) 90 6.0 (0.5) 109
Cornelia 20 4.2 (0.4) 38 9.9 (0.6) 234 5.2 (0.2) 517
Mean (n=8) 4.0 (0.3) 10.8 (0.5) 5.1 (0.8)
Mean (n=7)
3.7 (0.3) 11.2 (0.4) 5.9 (0.3)
Mean values in min (±SEM) of all days separately for each animal and over dierent groups
of animals. N=total number of episodes per girae; n=number of animals;
mean value
excluding Twanja.
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
30 I. Tobler and B. Schwierin
Figure 7. Frequency distribution of PS-cycle
duration in 1-min bins. The frequency of each
bin was expressed as percentage of the total
number of PS cycles per individual. The bars
represent mean values±s.e.m. (N=7, i.e.
excluding the juvenile). Left panels: no waking
was allowed within the cycle. Right panels:
waking <5 min as single or consecutive 1-min
epochs was allowed within a cycle. Top panels:
no interruption of PS episodes was allowed.
Bottom panels: a maximum of 2 single or
consecutive 1-min RS epochs (but no waking)
was allowed within a PS episode.
Figure 9. Frequency distribution of total duration of the cumulated
daytime sleep episodes within single days. Bars represent the
frequency of daytime sleep duration classified into 5-min bins for
N=6 giraes.
Figure 8. Eect of access to an outdoor pen during the day on sleep
distribution in the subsequent night. The lines connect mean hourly
values of total sleep time (±s.e.m., N=5), after days with (outdoor)
and without (indoor) access to an outdoor pen. Comparison of 1-h
(Zepelin and Rechtschaen 1974; Allison and Cichetti 1976).
intervals outdoor vs. indoor, ∗∗P<0.007, P<0.02, two-tailed paired
The daily sleep quota cited by Zepelin (1994) for the Asiatic
elephant was 3.9h (African elephant 3.3 h) and for giraes
1.9h, which contrasts with both our TST values in elephants
(circus without sleep ad lib: 3.5h; zoo – summer 5.9 h, winter
6.7h; Tobler 1992) and in giraes, at 4.6 h (evenexcluding SS,compensated with an increase in SS. Also in the elephants the
oldest cow exhibited the least RS (Tobler 1992). which is arbitrary and could be considered as drowsiness this
would give values of: girae: 3.8h, elephants: circus 3.3h, zooIn summary, the smaller amount of sleep and the shorter
duration of RS and PS episodes in giraes may be a summer 3.7 h, winter 4.5 h).
It has been shown for many species that sleep is regulatedconsequence of a larger predatory risk, but this does not
confirm the negative correlation withbody size or brain weight as a function of prior wakefulness (reviewed by Borbe
´ly 1994).
1996 European Sleep Research Society, J. Sleep Res.,5, 21–32
Behavioural sleep in the giraffe 31
In particular, sleep intensity is increased after prolonged the two conditions were responsible for the redistribution of
sleep and its increase in the second half of the night.
wakefulnessorreduced in the night following anappingepisode In conclusion, this study demonstrates that behavioural
(Feinberg 1982; Werth et al. 1996). In several species TST is observations in undisturbed animals can contribute to our
increased and motor activity during sleep is decreased after a understanding of sleep mechanisms inspecies where performing
period of sleep deprivation (reviewed by Tobler 1985; Deboer EEG recordings is more dicult.
et al. 1994). Sleep regulation has been little investigated in
ungulates. Ruckebusch (Ruckebusch and Bell 1970;
Ruckebusch et al. 1974; Ruckebusch 1975) performed selective ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
deprivation of REM sleep and partial sleep deprivation in cows The study was supported by the Swiss National Science
by preventing recumbency for 14–22h per day for 2–4 weeks. Foundation, grant 31.32574.91 and 3100.042500.94. The
Both nonREM sleep and REM sleep were significantly recordings were obtained in the Dierepark Emmen, Holland
increasedduringrecovery.During recovery,drowsiness, defined with the permission of H. Hiddingh. We thank Mr H. Scheeve
as a wakefulness with a mixture of high and low voltage and the caretakers of the giraes for their cooperation and for
synchronized EEG activity, usually encompassing about 30% the daily changing of the video tapes, Mr K. Wu
¨thrich for
of wakefulness, was not aected. Similarly, cattle deprived technical assistance and P. Achermann and A.A. Borbe
´ly for
from lying for 3h increased the duration of lying in the critical reading of the manuscript.
subsequent recovery period (Metz et al. 1984/1995). Data from
the present study reflect several aspects of sleep regulation in
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... When the camels were awake, video recordings showed a motionless posture in sternal recumbency with a polysomnographic signal characterized by fast, low-amplitude, beta-type wave activity in the EEG signal (22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34) Hz with amplitude 9-17 μV) ( Figure 2A) and high-frequency horizontal eye movements and blinking in the EOG Figure 2B). Permanent, high tonic activity was found in the EMG signal, with myogenic artefacts seen in the EEG and EOG signals most likely associated with voluntary movements ( Figure 2C), such as head turning and erected ears. ...
... 42,11 Rumination in the camel occurred during the last half or last third of the night, when the animal was in a resting sternal recumbency position with the head and neck erected (Moved Head up-SR: 89%). This position has previously been described as a preferred position for rumination in this species 27,[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43] as well as in other ruminants. ...
... 47 According to Allison and Cicchetti (1976), larger herbivorous mammals sleep little and hence exhibit less REM sleep than predators and small animals with a low predation index (e.g., rodents). 48 in the giraffe, 29 3 h 45 min/24 h in the cow, 37 5 h 3-7.5 min/24h in sheep, 37,49 and 3.7-6.7 h 4.8-16.8 min/24 h in the oryx. ...
Full-text available
Study Objectives To investigate sleep patterns in the camel by combining behavioural and polysomnography (PSG) methods. Methods A noninvasive PSG study was conducted over four nights on four animals. Additionally, video recordings were used to monitor the sleep behaviours associated with different vigilance states. Results During the night, short periods of sporadic sleep-like behaviour corresponding to a specific posture, sternal recumbency (SR) with the head lying down on the ground, were observed. The PSG results showed rapid shifts between five vigilance states, including wakefulness, drowsiness, REM sleep, NREM sleep, and rumination. The camels typically slept only 1.7 hours per night, subdivided into 0.5 hours of REM sleep and 1.2 hours of NREM sleep. Camels spent most of the night either awake (2.3 hours), ruminating (2.4 hours) or drowsing (1.9 hours). Various combinations of transitions between the different vigilance states were observed, with a notable transition into REM sleep directly from drowsiness (9%) or wakefulness (4%). Behavioural postures were found to correlate with PSG vigilance states, thereby allowing a reliable prediction of the sleep stage based on SR and the head position (erected, motionless or lying down on the ground). Notably, 100% of REM sleep occurred during the head lying down-SR posture. Conclusions The camel is a diurnal species with a polyphasic sleep pattern at night. The best correlation between PSG and ethogram data indicates that sleep duration can be predicted by the behavioural method, provided that drowsiness is considered a part of sleep.
... In ungulates, NREM sleep has most frequently been recorded in recumbency and REM sleep was seen in lateral recumbency with the head resting on the ground [1][2][3][4]. A characteristic posture and phasic events facilitate identification of this state in ungulates in behavioral studies, for example, in the elephant and giraffe [18,19]. This led to a suggestion that elephants in the wild can go without REM sleep for several days since they displayed only standing rest/sleep for periods of several days [20]. ...
... It has been reported that some farm animals (e.g. the goat, sheep, and horse) and the musk deer may have SWS with their eyes open while in other (pigs and ponies) the eyes were usually closed in SWS [1][2][3][4]. The eyes were closed in behaviorally sleeping elephants and giraffes [18,19]. SWS with two open eyes has been also reported in several avian species [29] and rabbits [30]. ...
... Thus, a recent study has reported that wild giraffes select areas with minimal trees or bushes for rest at night [33]. While several individuals were vigilant (standing and feeding), the others were observed resting in a sitting position, including in the posture which is characteristic of REM sleep [19]. ...
The mouse-deer or chevrotains are the smallest of the ungulates and ruminants. They are characterized by a number of traits which are considered plesiomorphic for the Artiodactyla order. The objective of this study was to examine sleep in the lesser mouse-deer (Tragulus kanchil), which is the smallest in this group (body mass <2.2 kg). Electroencephalogram, nuchal electromyogram, electrooculogram and body acceleration were recorded in 4 adult mouse-deer females using a telemetry system in Bu Gia Map National Park in Vietnam. The mouse-deer spent on average 49.7±3.0% of 24-h in NREM sleep. REM sleep occupied 1.7±0.3% of 24-h or 3.2±0.5% of total sleep time. The average duration of REM sleep episodes was 2.0±0.2 min, the average maximum was 5.1±1.1 min, and the longest episodes lasted 8 min. NREM sleep occurred in sternal recumbency with the head heals above the ground while 64.7+6.4% of REM sleep occurred with the head resting on the ground. The eyes were open throughout most of the NREM sleep period. The mouse-deer displayed polyphasic sleep and crepuscular peaks in activity (04:00-06:00 and 18:00-19:00). The largest amounts of NREM occurred in the morning (06:00-09:00) and the smallest before dusk (at 04:00-06:00). REM sleep occurred throughout most of the daylight hours (08:00-16:00) and in the first half of the night (19:00-02:00). We suggest that the pattern and timing of sleep in the lesser mouse-deer is adapted to the survival of a small herbivorous animal, subject to predation, living in high environmental temperatures in tropical forest undergrowth.
... numerous behavioral studies have been conducted in zoos, most of them in mammals. Most studies focus on daily activity, while only a few concentrate on nocturnal behavior or even 24 h periods (giraffe : Baxter & Plowman, 2001;Duggan et al., 2016;Tobler & Schwierin, 1996;Veasey et al., 1996; African elephants: Rothwell et al., 2011;Schiffmann et al., 2018;Wilson et al., 2006). While zoos provide good conditions for observing and collecting data on nocturnal behavior, greater difficulties arise in the field (e.g., lack of information regarding age, biography and social relationships of the observed animals, unpredictability of encountering animals, high costs, etc.). ...
... Against this background, the sleep behavior of ruminants with their unique digestive system is of particular interest, since it is mainly characterized by short REM sleep phases. Typically, giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) show polyphasic sleep behaviors with various short sleep events which alternate cyclically with stages of foraging, moving and suckling events during the night (Burger, Hartig, et al., 2020;Razal et al., 2017;Saito et al., 2020;Sicks, 2012;Tobler & Schwierin, 1996;Zoelzer et al., 2020). These cyclical behavioral sequences settle in a 24 h rhythm, which is generated by endogenous biological clocks (Mistlberger & Rusak 2005). ...
... Across phylogeny, there are individual characteristics which impact an animal's behavior. Several zoo studies on large herbivores reported an effect of age on activity and sleep, with older animals tending to be more active and sleep less than juveniles or subadults (Holdgate et al., 2016;Ruckstuhl & Neuhaus, 2009;Sicks, 2012;Tobler & Schwierin, 1996). In contrast, the data about impact of sex on nocturnal activity patterns are equivocal (Ruckstuhl & Neuhaus, 2009;Santymire et al., 2012;Shannon et al., 2008;Sicks, 2012;Tobler & Schwierin, 1996). ...
Full-text available
Upon a drastic decline of the giraffe population in the wild, conservation efforts and therefore the role of zoos have become more important than ever. With their unique opportunities, zoos provide excellent conditions to study animal behavior, expanding the knowledge about the giraffe's behavior repertoire and their ability to adapt. This study therefore examined the nocturnal behavior of 63 giraffe living in 13 different EAZA zoos across Germany and the Netherlands. Giraffe were observed and videos recorded via infrared sensitive cameras during the winter seasons 2015–2018. The observation period spanned nightly from 17:00 to 7:00. Thus, 198 nights, with a total of 2772 h were recorded and analyzed. Linear mixed models were then used to assess potential biological and environmental factors influencing behavior during the dark phase. Results show that individual variables such as age, subspecies and motherhood determined nocturnal activity and sleep behavior most. Among the variables studied, husbandry conditions and environmental factors complying with EAZA standards had no influence on the giraffe's nocturnal behavior. By combining nocturnal activity analyses and an assessment of potential influencing factors, our findings present a holistic approach to a better understanding of captive giraffe behavior and allow for management implications. Research Highlights • Our study presents nocturnal activity budgets of 63 captive giraffe from 13 different zoos. • Giraffe spent about half of the 14 h observation period resting on the ground, either lying down or in REM sleep position. • It is likely that nocturnal behavior of captive giraffe depends more on individual characteristics such as age, subspecies and motherhood than on environmental factors.
... The TST per day reported for the cow (Bos taurus) was 3.97 h (Ruckebusch, 1972), sheep (Ovis aries) 3.85 h (Ruckebusch, 1972), goat (Capra aegagrus) 5.4 h (Bell and Itabisashi, 1973), pig (Sus scrofa) 7.82 h (Ruckebusch, 1972;Robert and Dallaire, 1986), and in the non-domesticated Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) 6.60 h in winter and 3.77 h in summer (Davimes et al., 2018) and in the current study blue wildebeest 4.5 h. Behaviourally, the TST of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) was reported to be 4.6 h (Tobler and Schwierin, 1996). Thus, the result of an average daily total sleep time of 4.5 h for the two blue wildebeest investigated in the current study appears to be within the range of daily total sleep time reported for phylogenetically related terrestrial species, even though the current study was undertaken in as close to natural conditions as possible, which has been shown to lower total sleep time in mammals (Rattenborg et al., 2008;Yetish et al., 2015). ...
... Concerning the percentage of TST occupied by REM sleep, the blue wildebeest spent 6.18% of TST in REM sleep, which is comparable with the 4.7% observed behaviourally in the giraffe (Tobler and Schwierin, 1996) and 4.18% observed physiologically during winter sleep in the Arabian oryx (Davimes et al. (2018), but see Davimes et al. (2018) concerning suppression of REM sleep in the summer in Arabian oryx). In contrast, the domestic Artiodactyls (cow -18.91%, sheep -14.72%, pig -29.13%, goat -13.15%) have substantially higher percentages of TST occupied by REM sleep. ...
Most studies examining sleep in mammals are done under controlled conditions in laboratory/zoological facilities with few studies being conducted in their natural environment. It is not always possible to record sleep polysomnographically (PSG) from animals in their natural environments, as PSG is invasive, requiring the surgical implantation of electrodes on the surface of the brain. In contrast, actigraphy (ACT) has been shown to be a minimally-invasive method to objectively measure overall sleep times in some mammals, although not revealing specific sleep states. The aim of this study is two-fold, first, to measure sleep polysomnographically in free-roaming blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) under the most natural conditions possible, and second, to establish the degree of concordance between ACT and PSG recordings undertaken simultaneously in the same individuals. Here we examined sleep in the blue wildebeest, in a naturalistic setting, using both polysomnography (PSG) and actigraphy (ACT). PSG showed that total sleep time (TST) in the blue wildebeest for a 24-hour period was 4.53 h (± 0.12 h), 4.26 h (± 0.11 h) spent in slow wave (non-REM) sleep and 0.28 h (± 0.01 h) spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, with 19.47 h (± 0.12 h) spent in Wake. ACT showed that the blue wildebeest spent 19.23 h (± 0.18 h) Active and 4.77 h (± 0.18 h) Inactive. For both animals studied, a fair agreement between the two techniques for sleep scoring was observed, with approximately 45% of corresponding epochs analyzed being scored as both sleep (using PSG) and inactive (using ACT).
... By making use of a mobile stretcher and with the assistance of a few people, the head and upper neck should be elevated to prevent passive regurgitation [2]. Under normal circumstances, even when sleeping, giraffes do not lay down with their heads flat on the ground [37]. By elevating the head and neck slightly, it therefore may aid in blood pressure management, as well as assisting with the veterinary monitoring of the animal. ...
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One of the highest occurrences of mortalities among giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) takes place during immobilisations, captures and translocations. Common mistakes, human error, unforeseen risks, the awkward anatomy and the sheer size of the animal are leading factors for giraffes’ mortalities during these operations. Many risks can be circumvented but some risks are unpreventable, often due to terrain characteristics (rivers, deep ditches, holes and rocky terrain). From 2011 to 2021, seventy-five giraffes were successfully immobilised and captured to collect biological and physiological data from eight different study areas across South Africa. A 0% mortality and injury rate was achieved and, therefore, the techniques described in this paper are testimony to the advances and improvements of capture techniques and drugs. Biological information and capture experiences were noted for 75 immobilised giraffes, of which, knockdown time data were recorded for 43 individuals. Effective and safe immobilisation requires a competent team, proper planning, skill and knowledge. In this manuscript, we address procedures, techniques, ethical compliance, welfare and safety of the study animals. General experiences and lessons learned are also shared and should benefit future captures and immobilisations by limiting the risks involved. The sharing of experiences and information could influence and improve critical assessments of different capture techniques and can likely contribute to the success rate of immobilisation and translocation success for giraffes in the future.
... Parameters like location, position, speed, temperature, breathing, and arousal threshold are also of interest. Indeed, sleep states are often characterized by a specific behavioral position in a specific location like the stereotypic position of the giraffe during REM sleep (Tobler and Schwierin, 1996). Myoclonic movements (twitches) occur during REM sleep could also serve to its identification. ...
In many scientific and medical fields, it is necessary to record physiological and behavioral parameters related to vigilance states. For many years, to obtain these measurements, animals (including humans) had to be connected to the recorder with cables. By restricting movement, tethering might alter the parameters being measured. During the last 20 years, improvements in electronic technology (wireless transmission, power consumption, miniaturization, computing power, etc.) have allowed for wireless recordings. As a result, new wireless systems (videos, telemetric systems, and bio-loggers) have improved animal welfare and broadened the scope of recording settings in which animals can be studied. This new approach to access vigilance states creates new opportunities to understand the complexity of interactions between animals and their environment.
... For example, mammals are able to reduce the intensity of SWS and the time spent in REM sleep in response to ecological scenarios where the perceived risk of predation is heightened (Lesku et al., 2008a;Gravett et al., 2017a;Gravett et al., 2017b). Ducks sleeping in groups have been shown to utilize their ability to sleep with one half of their brain, while maintaining vigilance with the other half when sleeping at the edge of the group (Rattenborg et al., 1999), however, the ability of birds to modulate (Ruckebusch, 1970;Ruckebusch et al., 1970;Tobler & Schwierin, 1996;Gravett et al., 2017b), must lay down to engage in uninterrupted REM sleep, a posture that could signal that they are sleeping to predators. On the other hand, mammals show an increased level of alertness when aroused from REM sleep as compared to SWS (Horner et al., 1997), seemingly rendering them safer when aroused from this state. ...
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Sleep is an enigmatic state engaged in by all organisms studied to date. In spite of sleeps ubiquitous presence across the animal kingdom sleep manifests differently in different taxonomic groups. Interestingly, sleep in birds and mammals is composed of two distinct sub-states, slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Despite the presence of these similar states in birds and mammals, it has been unclear whether reptiles exhibit similar sleep states, raising the possibility that these states evolved independently in birds and mammals. In this thesis I examined various characteristics of sleep in birds and reptiles to gain a better understanding of the evolution of sleep states. Chapter 2 describes electrical signals under isoflurane anesthesia in crocodiles that are similar in some, but not all, respects to those occurring during SWS in birds. Chapter 3 demonstrates that SWS and REM sleep are present in tinamous, a member of an early evolutionary branch of birds.. Chapter 4 demonstrates that sleep responds similarly to predation risk in birds and mammals. In chapter 5, I show that, in birds, anesthetics induce brain activity in many, but not all, respects similar to SWS. These results further demonstrate that SWS and REM sleep in birds and mammals share similar regulatory mechanisms. I propose that the electrophysiological patterns observed in crocodiles reflect an ancestral form of SWS present in the common ancestor to reptiles, birds, and mammals, that was independently elaborated upon in mammals and birds.
... Las jirafas son principalmente diurnos, aunque se desplazan y alimentan después del anochecer (Murray, 1997). En un estudio sobre los patrones de sueño de esta especie, se registró que dormían de pie y en estado de reposo, con picos de sueño entre las 20:00 a 07:00 horas y entre las 12:00 a 16:00 horas (Tobler y Schwierin, 1996). ...
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The proper handling of Giraffa camelopardalis under human care is a challenge, especially for Latin American zoos, being feeding and behavior two critical points for the good development of this species in captivity. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the food intake and behavior of the only two captive giraffes in Peru, called “Domingo” and “Ruben”, during winter season; and to determine if there was a relationship between food intake and behavior. The amounts of feed offered and refused in the diet, and behavior were recorded 4 days per week. The continuous sampling method, with observation sessions for 120 min/day, were used to register behaviors. To determine if diet affected the prevalence of oral stereotypies in the exhibit environment, Spearman correlation was used (p<0,05). The forage intake represented the highest proportion in the diet consumed in dry matter for the giraffe called “Domingo”, following the recommendations given for this species in captivity. For the giraffe called “Ruben”, the concentrate obtained the highest proportion in the diet consumed in dry matter, and the banana intake proportion exceeded that suggested. 17 and 19 behaviors were recorded for giraffes called “Domingo” and “Ruben”, respectively. Both animals exhibited oral stereotypies, which could be the consequence of a lack of daily oral stimulation due to a frustration of natural feeding and/or rumination behavior, as is observed in giraffe called “Domingo”, or as a way to balance the pH of the rumen due to a possible condition of ruminal acidosis because of the high consumption of concentrate and banana, as is observed in giraffe called “Rubén”. Information generated by studies of this type reveals the necessity to monitor the food intake and behavior of this species in captivity, because both points are related.
Resting behaviors play an important role in animals’ daily activities by minimizing energy consumption. Although this may be equally important to other behavioral states for sustaining life, it has not been well studied in the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). This study characterized the bout duration, frequency, and age–sex class differences in diurnal recumbent behavior of free‐ranging giraffe. Additionally, it is currently unknown whether giraffe utilize shady or safe areas for diurnal recumbency, as many other animals do. Therefore, we also investigated this in the present study. Data were collected in Katavi National Park, Tanzania, during four time periods. The duration of recumbency bouts was calculated from 170 episodes, and the frequency of recumbency was determined by following 24 individuals for more than 10 h each. Habitat type was categorized into wooded grassland or miombo woodland, and habitat preference was analyzed based on 173.6 h of observations. We found no significant difference in the duration of recumbency bouts among the four age‐classes and between sexes in adults. On the other hand, calves (n = 2) rested more frequently than did other age‐groups, possibly due to differences in predation risk or activity budgets. Adult males had a higher frequency of recumbency compared to adult females, possibly because pregnant/nursing females were hindered in adopting this posture. We also found that giraffe primarily utilized the miombo woodland for daytime recumbency, likely because the high tree density reduces heat stress, and its seclusion from the river reduces predation risk. Factors influencing daytime resting postures in giraffe are rarely examined. We analyzed differences in age, sex, and habitat as variables impacting Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) daytime recumbency. Calves rested more than non‐calves, possibly due to differences in predation risk or activity patterns. Adult males were more likely than adult females to lie down, possibly because pregnant/nursing females were hindered in adopting this posture. We conclude that predation risk, activity patterns, and reproductive condition probably influence daytime recumbency in giraffes. Additionally, giraffes rested most often in the miombo woodland, possibly to reduce heat stress by using the high tree density and predation by using areas far from the river. We conclude that dense woodland is a habitat that giraffes select adaptively for recumbency, despite savanna/wooded grassland as a well‐known giraffe habitat.
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The duration and intensity of the cow‐calf bond during lying out, calving pools and nursery herds has been analysed in a wild population of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa). Field behaviour observations were made on naturally marked and radio‐collared giraffe. Radio‐tracking was used to follow and observe giraffe of a known age for up to 1½ years. The giraffe calf participates in various calf sub‐groups while the cow travels to browse and water. A strong maternal bond exists between the giraffe cow and calf until the cow's next calving. Zusammenfassung Die Entwicklung der Mutter‐Kind‐Beziehung bei Giraffen (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) von der Geburt bis zur Trennung von Mutter und Kind wurde beobachtet und in 3 Entwicklungsabschnitte unterteilt: 1. Absonderung des ruhenden Kalbes während der ersten bis dritten Woche nach der Geburt; 2. Säugegruppen, Geburtsgruppen und Gruppen abgesondert ruhender Kälber; 3. Trennung von Mutter und Kalb vor der nächsten Geburt. Entwöhnt werden Giraffen mit 6–8 Monaten; die Kuh‐Kalb‐Beziehungen dauern 14–16 Monate. Der durchschnittliche Anteil von Liegen (78%), Fressen (19%) und Säugen (2%) an der Gesamtaktivität ganz junger Giraffen unterschied diese von halbwüchsigen Giraffen, welche 80% ihrer täglichen Aktivität mit Fressen, 19% mit Liegen und 1% mit Säugen verbrachten.
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Based on data for 53 mammalian species reported in the literature, statistical analyses revealed that daily sleep quotas correlate positively with metabolic rate and negatively with maximum life span and brain weight. Sleep cycle length correlates positively with life span and brain weight and negatively with metabolic rate. Paradoxical sleep figures in these intercorrelations only by virtue of its positive correlation with slow wave sleep. The correlation between sleep time and metabolic rate suggests that sleep has the function of enforcing rest and limiting metabolic requirements, although some inconsistent findings are noted. Strong correlations of cycle length with brain weight and metabolic rate suggest that the significance of cycle length has not been sufficiently explored.
The duration of the REM-sleep was studied in three domestic species with body weights ranging from 40 to 450 kg. The results (goat: 19.2 min; pony: 15.5 min; cow: 15.8 min) lie within a close range. The results and values published for other mammalian species are compared and a parallel drawn between sleep cycle length and the evolutionary level of the species.
The degree of vigilance of an animal is a useful parameter for measuring its behavioural integration with the surroundings. Each species has a particular hypnogram which is very sensitive to variations in the environment and reflects the adaptive response of the animal. Four species, horses, cattle, sheep and pigs were used to study the responsiveness of the different components of the hypnogram to changes in physical environment, social context and diet. Standardized conditions provided a base for measuring the time taken for an animal to revert to its previous hypnogram or to exhibit a stable compensatory mechanism. Depending on the species and the experimental situation, either the number, or the duration of sleep episodes, or both were ersponsive and exhibited progressive adaptation with time. The relevance of the components of the hypnogram as a subtle index of adaptation of the animal to changes in its surroundings is discussed.
The purpose of this research was to ascertain the repertoire of behavior of female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in captivity. Seven female African elephants were observed for 558 hours and 22 minutes for a period of one year. This paper gives a detailed description of the activities of the elephants maintained in a relatively restricted environment. Twenty one different kinds of behaviors were observed, 14 of which were considered unique to elephants. The most frequently occurring behavior was the placement of the trunk of one elephant into or near the mouth of another elephant. The activities were discussed in terms of: (1) social behaviors; (2) individual behaviors; (3) biological behaviors; (4) dominance hierarchy; (5) four factors derived by statistical factor analysis.
Quiet sleep (QS) was correlated with a different set of constitutional variables from those associated with active sleep (AS), in a sample of 69 species of mammals. The time spent in quiet sleep was negatively correlated with body size and basal metabolic rate. The latter relationship remained even after controlling for the effects of body weight. Neither the total time spent in active sleep, nor active sleep as a percentage of total sleep time was significantly correlated with body weight or metabolic rate. Altricial species spend more time in active sleep than do precocial species. The time between the onset of successive episodes of active sleep, the AS-QS cycle length, was positively correlated with body weight. For their body sizes, species that live in temperate regions have shorter AS-QS cycles than those living in tropical or sub-tropical regions. Correlations between patterns of sleep and adult brain weight probably result from the confounding effects of body weight. These findings were used to evaluate several explanations for interspecific differences in patterns of sleep among mammals.
The development of sleep was examined in 16 piglets during their first 5 weeks of life. Each piglet was observed for one 90 min period each week and a record of the duration of lying, non-REM-sleep and REM-sleep was made. Sleeping position was also recorded. The amount of time spent sleeping and lying did not change systematically over the 5 weeks and neither did the duration of a sleeping episode. However, the duration of REM-sleep decreased from Week 1 to Week 5. REM-sleep could readily be divided into bouts and whereas the median bout length, number of bursts of REM-sleep per bout and duration of each burst remained constant, the mean number of bouts per observation period showed a marked decline with age. REM-sleep was seen to occur more frequently in the crouch position (all 4 legs folded under the body) than in any other position. It was concluded that the development of sleep follows a similar pattern to other precocious and non-precocious species and that piglets are probably not sleep-deprived.