In most carnivores, the mother nurses and rears her litter by herself, but in wolves, African hunting dogs, dholes, and some mongooses, other pack members assist by bringing food to the mother and to older pups. This assistance permits the female to produce large amounts of milk for a large litter, as in domestic dogs (Table 1). At the other extreme, some bears lactate during hibernation, providing small amounts of milk to altricial cubs even though the mother is fasting. Milk yields increase when mother and cubs emerge from the den and the mother can begin to eat and drink.

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