Nesting instinct  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nesting instinct refers to an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn(s). It is found in a variety of animals (both mammals and birds) including humans.

In animals

In rodents and lagomorphs, the nesting instinct is typically characterized by the urge to seek the lowest sheltered spot available; this is where these mammals give birth. Female dogs may show signs of nesting behavior shortly before their due date that include pacing and building a nest with items from around the house such as blankets, clothing, and stuffed animals. (They also sometimes do this in cases of false pregnancy, or pseudocyesis). Domestic cats often make nests by bringing straw, cloth scraps, and other soft materials to a selected nook or box; they particularly are attracted to haylofts as nest sites. In birds it is known as "going broody", and is characterized by the insistence to stay on the nest as much as possible, and by cessation of laying new eggs. Marsupials do not exhibit a nesting instinct per se, because the mother's pouch fulfills the function of housing the newborns.

In humans

In human females, the nesting instinct often occurs around the fifth month of pregnancy, but can occur as late as the eighth, or not at all. It may be strongest just before the onset of labor.

It is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one's home, and is one reason why couples who are expecting a baby often reorganize, arrange, and clean the house and surroundings. This behavior is colloquially known as "straightening out", "clearing the road", or "clearing the coast", or "building a door".

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nesting instinct" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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