Document Detail

Huddling, locomotor, and nest-building behaviors of furred and furless Siberian hamsters.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12834796     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Rodents living in the cold employ both behavioral and physiological mechanisms to achieve thermoregulation. We examined the impact of fur loss on behavioral thermoregulation in cold-challenged Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). Intact female hamsters exposed to an ambient temperature (T(a)) of 5 degrees C increased their general locomotor activity by 50% relative to animals maintained at 23 degrees C. At both T(a)'s, fur removal resulted in substantial increases in daily food intake (37% and 22% at 5 and 23 degrees C, respectively) but did not affect the amount of locomotor activity; increased food intake after fur loss evidently is not caused by increases in locomotor activity. Furred hamsters housed in groups of three at 5 degrees C consumed 16% less food per day than did singly housed individuals. Fur removal resulted in identical 39% increases in food intake in group- or singly housed animals. Energy savings that accrued from huddling were identical in furred and furless animals; this behavior conserves energy even in the absence of an insulative pelage. The availability of nesting material resulted in an 18% reduction in food consumption in intact animals kept at 5 degrees C. The increase in food intake produced by fur removal was attenuated by approximately 80% when furless animals had access to nesting material. Huddling and nest-building behaviors each ameliorate energetic challenges posed by absence of fur; animals that concurrently employ several modes of thermoregulation realize substantial energy savings in the cold.
Alexander S Kauffman; Matthew J Paul; Matthew P Butler; Irving Zucker
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physiology & behavior     Volume:  79     ISSN:  0031-9384     ISO Abbreviation:  Physiol. Behav.     Publication Date:  2003 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-07-01     Completed Date:  2003-10-29     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0151504     Medline TA:  Physiol Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  247-56     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
Body Weight
Cold Temperature
Eating / physiology
Energy Metabolism
Hair / physiology*
Housing, Animal
Motor Activity / physiology*
Nesting Behavior / physiology*
Phodopus / anatomy & histology,  physiology*,  psychology*
Social Isolation
Grant Support

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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