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Maternal Behavior in the Rabbit: Yearly and Seasonal Variation in Nest Building1)

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An analysis was made of more than nine hundred successful parturitions in four strains of rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, for the period, 1953-59. The strains studied were : III, IIIc, AcEp, and X. The results showed that the number of successful pregnancies (production of one or more live-born young) varied from 57 percent in the winter months to 82 percent during the summer. This pattern was significantly different among strains. Within the successful pregnancy group, the proportion of failures to build material nests did not change significantly from season to season or from year to year. The time of nest building was found to differ significantly among the strains.

Affiliations: 1: Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine

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