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Sleepover at the Zoo

Published on Wednesday, 26th February 2014
In the one of the most ambitious sleep experiments ever presenter Liz Bonnin and sleep expert Bryson Voirin spend a night at the zoo monitoring what animals get up to when they think no one's watching.

In the one of the most ambitious ever sleep experiments presenter Liz Bonnin and sleep expert Bryson Voirin spend a night at the zoo monitoring what animals get up to when they think no one’s watching.  From red pandas and lions to meerkats and tapirs for the first  time a whole range of animal sleep will be compared and contrasted in real- time across the course of a single night.

Every animal in the world sleeps in some form, but it is as varied as life itself. Liz and Bryson examine why it is so important and what can be learned from the vast variety of animal sleep patterns.

For the experiment Bristol Zoo was rigged  with a complex system of over 30 night-vision cameras and 20 infra-red motion sensors, which spied on the animals throughout the night observing which animals slept and for how long, as well as  those that didn’t sleep and were active in the dead of night.

Sleepover At The Zoo also delves into the extraordinary world of animal sleep research looking at what we already know and, more importantly, what is yet to be discovered.

Contrasting and comparing sleep behaviour, from the dolphins, who have come up with ingenious solutions to allow them to sleep while swimming, to ants who have developed complex behavioural patterns which ensure that the colony sleeps undisturbed. Also, how the meerkats in their nests keep an ear open for danger, despite being piled on top of each other in an adorable sleep-heap and flamingos arrange themselves in order to keep a wary eye out for night-time predators.

Sleepover at the Zoo was produced by Icon Films for BBC4 and transmits on Monday March 3rd 9 -10.30pm