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Metabolic Adaptations to Prolonged Food-Deprivation by the American Badger Taxidea-Taxus

Harlow, Henry
Energy expenditures for food processing, maintenance, and activity requirements were determined in the laboratory on the American badger, Taxidea taxus, both with ad lib. food and starved for 7, 20, and 30 days. Body weight decreased at about 76 g per day, resulting in a respiratory quotient (RQ) of 0.83 after 30 days of starvation. Energy requirements were calculated from Vo2 values. A 24.2%, 19.7%, and 26.3% reduction in total metabolism was observed at 7, 20, and 30 days, respectively, without food because of reduced maintenance and activity requirements. As a result, badgers were able to conserve approximately 17 g of tissue per day after 30 days without food. Part of the lower maintenance metabolism was accounted for by a 1.7 C reduction in body temperature. Activity was most depressed the first week of starvation but progressively increased after 20 and 30 days without food.
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