Intrauterine position, parenting, and nest-site attachment in male Mongolian gerbils
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We housed male Mongolian gerbils, their mates, and foster litters of standardized size and sex ratio in enclosures that provided cover in two locations. Males had been gestated in known intrauterine positions: either between two females (2F males) or between two males (2M males). From Days 1 to 20 postpartum, we examined the frequency with which both males and females were in contact with the pups they were rearing. We found that 2F males spent more time with pups than did 2M males both during entire observation periods and when females were away from the nest. Further, when pups were moved from the nest site. 2M males spent more time than did 2F males in the vacated nest site. We concluded that 2F male gerbils spent more time with pups than 2M males not because of a greater attachment of 2F than 2M males to places of concealment, their male, or their nest site. Rather, 2F males were more attracted to pups than were 2M males.
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