Patterns of Energy Output During Reproduction in Carnivores

  • Olav T. Oftedal
  • John L. Gittleman


Reproduction is energetically expensive (Harvey 1986; Loudon and Racey 1987; Gittleman and Thompson 1988). The pregnant female requires energy and nutrients for the synthesis of fetal, placental, uterine, and mammary tissues. Lactation involves an even greater drain of nutrients and energy. During reproduction energy expenditure may also rise as a consequence of increases in metabolic rate and activity level (Thompson and Nicoll 1986). To support the energetic costs of late pregnancy and lactation, maternal food intake must increase and/or the energy accumulated prior to reproduction or during early pregnancy must be mobilized (Loveridge 1986; Gittleman and Thompson 1988). Thus female reproduction involves substantial commitment of nutritional resources: for example, the energy required by a female ungulate to rear a single offspring from conception to weaning is similar to maintenance energy needs for approximately 100–150 days (Oftedal 1985).


Energy Output Litter Size Milk Yield Giant Panda American Mink 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olav T. Oftedal
  • John L. Gittleman

There are no affiliations available

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