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Nursing behaviors of beluga calves (Delphinapterus leucas) born in captivity


, : Nursing behaviors of beluga calves (Delphinapterus leucas) born in captivity. Zoo Biology 16(3): 247-262

The nursing behaviors of two beluga whale calves were observed for the first 55 days postpartum. For both calves, the total time spent nursing in a given period peaked around 7-10 days postpartum and then declined over time. One calf, however, was found to have an unusual decline in nursing at day 35 postpartum. Ten days later, this calf was diagnosed as having a bacterial infection and given antibiotics. This suggests that early detection of health problems may be possible by observing calves' nursing behavior. For both calves, their general nursing patterns were similar, although one calf consistently nursed more than the other. Both calves nursed roughly every half hour, neither showed any signs of a circadian pattern, and carryover effects for both calves were found, indicating that there was a relationship in the overall nursing pattern from one interval to the next. That is, if nursing dropped off during one interval, it was typically made up in the next interval.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2361(1997)16:3<247::aid-zoo5>3.0.co;2-a


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