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Dev Psychobiol. 1990 Sep;23(6):519-34.

Nest temperature: effects on maternal behavior, pup development, and interactions with handling.

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Psychology Department, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


These studies compared the patterns of mother-young contact under different thermal environments and assessed the implications of the differing patterns of contact for pup development and the dam's behavior. In the first experiment, the warm surface dramatically reduced the total amount of contact time between dams and litters and the dam's food intake, but the effects on the pups were limited to smaller adrenal glands. A replication of the first experiment in which daily weighing and handling of the pups was eliminated produced no differences in development. In a third experiment, during which dams had access to a warm surface outside of the next area and the daily weighing and handling was resumed, the pups showed smaller adrenal glands, lower body temperatures and less thermoregulatory ability. A comparison of results suggests that handling increased the weight of adrenal glands of pups reared under the unmanipulated condition, but not the warm-rearing condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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