CZAAWE Resource Article

The ontogeny of nursing in Babyrousa babyrussa and a comparison with domestic pigs
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/1098-2361(2000)19:4<253::AID-ZOO3>3.3.CO;2-B The nursing behavior of eight babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) infants was studied. Four were from single births and four were from twin births. The age at weaning, the time of day and number of nursing bouts per day, the mean duration of nursing bouts, and whether the offspring or the dam ended nursing bouts were all examined. It was found that although twins are weaned earlier than single offspring, there were no other statistically significant differences in nursing behavior of single and twin offspring. The ontogeny of nursing behavior in this species is described and some comparisons are made between the nursing behavior of babirusa and nursing in the domestic pig (Sus scrofa) and selected suids. Babirusa dams take longer to wean their offspring, allow them to nurse longer, and end nursing bouts less often than domestic pigs. The differences in behavior between babirusa and domestic pig nursing behavior may be related to differences in the number of offspring produced by the two species and the amount of parental investment in each offspring. Zoo Biol 19:253–262, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.