Mar 31, 2018

When elephants fall asleep: A literature review on elephant rest with case studies on elephant falling bouts, and practical solutions for zoo elephants

Zoo Biology
Christian SchiffmannJean-Michel Hatt


Little attention has been paid to the resting and sleeping behavior of zoo elephants so far. An important concern is when elephants avoid lying down, due to degenerative joint and foot disease, social structure, or stressful environmental changes. Inability or unwillingness to lie down for resting is an important welfare issue, as it may impair sleep. We emphasize the importance of satisfying rest in elephants by reviewing the literature on resting behavior in elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) as well as the documentation of four cases from European zoos and our own direct observations in a zoo group of four female African elephants during 12 entire days. The common denominator in the case reports is the occurrence of a falling bout out of a standing position subsequently to a cessation of lying rest for different periods of time. Although well-known in horses as "episodic collapse" or "excessive drowsiness," this syndrome has not been described in elephants before. To enable its detection, we recommend nocturnal video monitoring for elephant-keeping institutions. The literature evaluation as well as own observational data suggest an inverse relationship between lying rest and standing rest. Preventative measur...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Positioning Attribute
Abnormal Degeneration
Degenerative Polyarthritis
Sleep, Slow-Wave
Proteus Syndrome
Equus caballus
Animal Husbandry

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

Synthetic Genetic Array Analysis

Synthetic genetic arrays allow the systematic examination of genetic interactions. Here is the latest research focusing on synthetic genetic arrays and their analyses.

Epigenetic Memory

Epigenetic memory refers to the heritable genetic changes that are not explained by the DNA sequence. Find the latest research on epigenetic memory here.

Bone Marrow Neoplasms

Bone Marrow Neoplasms are cancers that occur in the bone marrow. Discover the latest research on Bone Marrow Neoplasms here.