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Energy Conservation in Animals

There is no doubt that animals have mastered energy conservation and efficiency, especially when compared to humans.
Mikkie Mills
Since there is so much predation in the wild and animals are living to stay alive, there are many reasons why they have to avoid expending too much energy. Here's a little information on how they do it, and when they get it done.

Slower Digestion

Animals like sloths can hold on to more energy by slowing their digestion, along with everything else. This enables them to go longer without food but also slows their bodies. Sloths are some of the most efficient animals and can live on a very sparse diet.
This however is not the case for all creatures. For example, faster-moving mammals like cheetahs are not able to live by the same system, so they conserve in different ways.


Hibernating wildlife such as bears, skunks, snakes, bats, and groundhogs do so to get away from the harsher seasons that make it difficult for them to hunt. For these animals to sleep through winter, their bodies have to go into preservation mode.
Their body temperatures lower and heartbeat gets slow. They can live during this time based on the food preparation they do ahead of time. In not scientific terms, these creatures put on a little fat to survive through their dormancy.

Swimming and Flying

Jellyfish are highly proficient because they use a dual-propulsion system that saves them the energy of constantly propelling themselves to swim. Other sea creatures swim in large groups, called schools, to save energy.
Flying animals and fish are also able to conserve fuel by coasting through the air and water, respectively. Birds also fly in a "v" shape for increased productivity, similar to fish.


If you have thought, "How do giraffes sleep standing up?", you will be pleased to know that similar to horses, elephants, and zebras, they sleep standing up by locking their legs to hold the weight of their bodies. These animals do this to lower their body temperature to save energy.
However, they are still able to get away quickly if a predator approaches. As strange as this may seem, it is actually the most functional ways for bigger-bodied animals to stay safe and get some much needed rest all at once. Flamingoes also have the same approach to sleeping.

Relying On the Sun

Amphibians like turtles and crocodiles can regulate body temperatures using sun, rather than using energy. This is why you can see these animals soaking in the sun on a log every now and again. Now you know they do it because they are energy efficient and not to get a nice tan on their shells.

Thick Fur and Blubber

Animals that live in cold weather, like polar bears, can keep heat from escaping their bodies with a layer of blubber and thick fur. Their outer coat is also waterproof, which keeps them insulated in the freezing waters. The fat their bodies produce helps them floating, so less effort is spent on swimming.


Animals are amazing creatures, and what their bodies can naturally do to help them survive is even more astounding. You may have previously thought animals just had quirky ways about them, but the truth is, everything an animal does is for a reason.
Unlike humans, animals live, not to enjoy themselves, but to find their next meal and stay away from predators. It is not surprising that they are as efficient with their environments and bodies as they are. There may have been a time where humans were in the same position as animals.
If one thing is true, it is that humankind has nothing on the productivity of animals. The time you are at the zoo or enjoying a summer evening at the lakehouse, maybe you can appreciate everything an animal has to do to survive.