Energy efficient animals

Which animal is the most energy efficient

How efficient is nature? You’ll never guess which animal is the most efficient.

At Powershop we’re all about putting the energy we sell in simple terms, giving control to our customers and saving them money. And as we’re all about energy and everyone loves fluffy pandas at the moment – see below video – we thought we’d investigate other creatures in the animal kingdom for efficiency.

But which animal is the most efficient on the planet? And which guzzles energy like a Hummer?

1. The jellyfish

The Jellyfish, believe it or not, is one of the most energy efficient creatures in the animal kingdom

Using a method called ‘cost of transport’ the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts took into account the energy required to generate movement.

Using this they found that the jellyfish swims about 3.5 times more efficiently than salmon – its closest competitor for the efficiency crown.

The jellyfish’s trick is to contract and push itself forward and then relax making a second wave for which it actually uses no energy whatsoever.

Brad Gemmell, a marine biologist who worked on the project, said “That secondary vortex ring contributes up to 30 percent of the total distance the animal travels with each contraction, which is significant,” Gemmell says. “It’s a neat little trick they use. The animal is paused; it’s not expending any additional energy, but it is still accelerating.”

2. The Hummingbird

Almost appropriate that the Hummingbird is about as efficient as a Hummer.

Constantly knackered, the hummingbird consumes between 3.14 and 7.6 calories a day. That may not seem like much, but if humans (who may eat 3,500 calories a day) had the metabolism of a hummingbird, they would have to consume approximately 155,000 calories a day. That's about 77 times as much as most humans eat! Or 437 burgers. Constantly. Knackered.

3. Pandas

Adorable. Fluffy. Constipated.

Pandas digestive systems evolved to process meat, yet they eat nothing but bamboo—all day, every day. And they eat about 10 – 15 kilograms of the stuff each day. This means they spend around 10 – 16 hours a day foraging for bamboo. And they need all that just to survive. Such is the exhaustion from the bamboo hunt they spend the remainder of their day sleeping and resting from their hunt for bamboo. And being a little clogged up. It would seem that a panda’s relationship with its beloved bamboo is pretty much the solution to and cause of all of a Panda’s little problems.

4. Humans

We’re not as rubbish as you think.

Hitting our optimum Cost of Transport at just over 6km/h – that’s for a person weighing in at around 70kg – we’re at our best taking a brisk stroll to do the weekly shop or buy the evergreen favourite, a Cornetto.

And if you’re running you can run up to 6m/s and you’re basically using the same energy as a canter. Express Cornetto. Research suggests that 200 calories are burned from just two and a half minutes of hardcore sprints. Compared to a Cheetah which burns up roughly 300 calories per chase (a chase lasting 38 seconds) that’s not too bad. Admittedly, a Cheetah can reach a top speed of 75 mph, but at our top speed we’re not doing too badly.

4. Bats

Remember that sleep you had when you returned from Glastonbury? You hibernated like a bat.

Leave a bat to sleep and it will show you the meaning of sleep! You’d think that 64-66 days of hibernation is a pretty decent stretch of time for any animal in the wild. But the big brown bat is one of the longest hibernators in nature managing a 66 day snooze sometimes with the racket of the inner city going on around it. However, in captivity one lasted an incredible 344 days!

That’s not the most impressive thing about them though. A brown bat’s heart rate drops from 1000 beats per minute to only 25 and some bats only take a breath every 2 hours while they’re hibernating. Deep sleep. Do not disturb.

5. Snails

The absolute super savers of the animal kingdom in the humble snail.

Boarding a flight upon a passing migratory bird there is evidence that land snails have been carried 5,500 miles by birds between Europe and Tristan de Cunha – clocking up the frequent flier miles way before travelling salespeople did.

Research from scientists in Japan, Panama and California, in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggested they stuck to the legs, bills and feathers of wading birds, and may even have travelled in the bodies of their air transport, since the snails – intertidal Cerithideopsis species (we can copy and paste latin too) – can survive being eaten and regurgitated by their hosts. On arrival, they dismounted and chilled out in their newly acquired tropical paradise.

As well as that, snails love a good, long sleep. To hibernate, snails go into their shell, seal up the gap with slime and chalk to keep the moisture in and grab a nap. For a couple of months. Or a couple of years if the weather is dry. During that time they don’t eat and use almost no energy. Snails really are energy saving masters.

So there you have it. Jellyfish, Snails and bats. Who would have thought that being an energy efficient animal is all about relaxing muscles, staying at home, sleeping in or piggybacking on the movement of others? And with the Jellyfish being the most efficient animal at moving due to its relaxed approach to movement, it seems that slow and steady wins the race! It’s really not about being a gigantic panda or a lightning quick cheetah.

For humans, when it comes to saving energy in the home, we can help there. With Powershop, once you Switch it. Control it. Own it. You can monitor the energy you use via the Powershop UK app and then choose the power packs that suit you. This will save money and you might even start to cut down energy use once you realise how much you’re using by keeping your tablet hooked up to a charger!

Now that you know how animals get more efficient, have a look how you can become more efficient with your energy use either with our useful energy tips and advice on the Powershop blog or by getting an energy quote to see how we can save you money when you switch energy provider when moving home.