May 3, 2018
Sleeping & Breathing
Did you see our earlier post about how dolphins and whales breathe? If you missed it, you can read more about it here.
But how do they breathe and sleep?!
Well, these incredible creatures are so clever they are able to shut off half their brain and sleep, while the other half focuses on breathing- rising to the surface for air and low level alterness and keeping one eye open- known as an alpha state.
Dolphins can remain in this state for 2 hours and then swap which side of the brain rests. Humpbacks tend to stay close to the surface for 10-15 minutes while resting in this alpha state. We refer to this behaviour as ‘logging’ as often the appear to be a log floating on the surface- we try to make sure we do not disturb whales and dolphins when resting like this to ensure their comfort.
How do they not drown?
To avoid drowning while they sleep they must be in control of their blow holes – and have enough consciousness to know if their blowhole is at the surface. Plus, when these marine mammals are resting often they are accompanied by another whale/dolphin for extra security. Often humpback calves sleep in their mothers slipstream dragging them along with very minimal effort from the baby!
Isn’t that incredible?!