What do tigers dream of?

“What do tigers dream of, when they take a little tiger snooze?” Most of you recall that line from the movie The Hangover. I was watching that movie the other day and it inspired me to write a blog about this topic. But really, what do they dream of.. what does any animal dream about? Do animals dream at all? These are all interesting questions.

After thorough observations and research it has been proven that all mammals as well as other species of animals do in fact have dreams during their dormant state. If you have a pet, at some point during their sleep you might have noticed them flinch or twitch and you might have probably credited this to their dreams. That is exactly the case. “All mammals share the same¬†neural structures that are important in sleeping and dreaming.” This is why we know that just as humans do, other mammals dream.

Obviously we can’t talk to animals and ask them if they have dreams so we had to find out on our own terms. “There are two ways in which scientists have gone about this seemingly impossible task. One is to look at their physical behaviour during the various phases of the sleep cycle. The second is to see whether their sleeping brains work similarly to our own sleeping brains.” Animals have a similar sleep cycle to humans. They go through almost an identical process which includes REM sleep. REM sleep is the rapid eye movement stage of sleeping where all the dreaming takes place.

It’s good to know that animals dream but what exactly do they dream about? Similar to humans, animals dream about events that go on during their every day life. ¬†An experimental study was done on cats in which a part of the brain stem was removed. The part of the brainstem that was removed was the part that paralyzes the body during REM sleep, similarly to humans. During the cats’ sleep after the brainstem was removed, it was noticed that the animals walked around and acted more aggressively. “Some cats also show behaviour identical to predatory attacks, as if they were chasing mice in their dreams. Similar dream activity has been seen in dogs.” These are interesting findings to say the least.

I think that this research teaches us a lot about our own behavior as humans. The results found teach us that although we are extremely different from other animals, at the same time we have a lot in common. In some cases the more we learn about animals, the more we learn about ourselves. That is the beauty of science.





4 thoughts on “What do tigers dream of?

  1. Adair Mustafa Post author

    I agree, hopefully we find out more about this topic soon because it is an interesting topic. I’d personally like to learn more about what exactly they dream about. Also I think it would be interesting to know if they dream in black in white. They have such a different point of view than us humans so it’s hard to imagine what their dreams look like. Here is an article that further describes animals and their dreams http://mentalfloss.com/article/53299/do-animals-dream

  2. Jordan David Unsworth

    I have to agree I stopped on this article because I love that movie. I really do believe they dream all the time because sometimes my dog will run his sleep or wimper and growl at something. I find it very interesting though hopefully soon we learn some more information about other animals as well. Is there some animals that may dream more others? From what we learned in class bats have to dream at least some point in their lives with all that sleeping.

  3. Macy Cellitti

    I love animals, so this post was very interesting to me. Although, the study you mentioned makes me wonder whether or not it’s ethical to remove a part of an animal’s brain just to learn more about their dreams. If this were being done to humans it would be different because humans could provide their verbal consent, but animals can’t. Just something to think about. Also, I think it’s a bit over the top to say this study teaches us how similar and different we are to animals. I think most people knew that before, considering our similarities to monkeys are practically common knowledge at this point. But again, great post. I always wonder what animals are thinking and this is a step toward figuring that out!

  4. Briana Blackwell

    Naturally I clicked on this article because I recognized the line from my favorite movie. But, this is a topic that I hope one day we can get more information on as technology quickly advances. I can only imagine that animals have very simple dreams, such as attaining food or maybe a noise or action that their owners did in front of them. We will never know if they have complex dreams about other animals they have interacted with (other than eating purposes) or even humans for that matter. There are so many questions that lie unanswered. When animals know and recognize that we’re sad, do they even wonder why we’re sad? Or is that too much thinking for them? Do animals have sex dreams? Who knows.

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