Do animal parents stress out like humans?
As every parent knows, bringing up children can be a draining business. Now researchers have found that banded mongoose parents find it so stressful, they have no energy left to care for the next litter.
It seems the energetic demands of caring for pups pushes up the mongooses' stress hormone levels.
These levels last long enough to affect their ability to look after their group's next batch of offspring. Instead, they have to rely on their brothers and sisters to take the reins.
'Most parents will be able to relate to this. It's a big investment and hard work bringing up pups — the parents often go without food, because any food they find, they give to the pups. Understandably, this is stressful for them, and they can't work so hard next time,' says Dr Jenni Sanderson of the University of Exeter, lead author of the study, published in Functional Ecology.
Banded Mongoose image via Shutterstock.
Read more at Planet Earth Online.