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Newborn Rabbits Cuddle Together to Keep Warm

Newborn rabbits compete for their mother’s milk, but when the temperature
drops, that competitive spirit gives way to cooperation:

Using infrared cameras (right) and rooms that slowly cool from
23°C to 11°C, researchers found that when the temperature drops,
less-than-5-day-old furless rabbit pups huddle to share heat.

Such cooperation, like investors making a joint business venture,
comes at a small private cost, as generating heat uses body fat that
in turn uses up oxygen, and using too much oxygen can stunt a rabbit’s

But by
sharing heat, rabbits mutually ensure that their siblings don’t have
to use up too much energy to survive the cold
, helping them all
live on to contribute to future bunny generations.


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March 26th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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