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Does simple feeding enrichment raise activity levels of captive ring-tailed lemurs ( Lemur catta )?

By D. L. Dishman, D. M. Thomson, N. J. Karnovsky

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Feeding enrichment is a commonly proposed way to promote natural behavior, greater activity levels and improved health in captive primates, but in many cases the methods have not been formally tested, especially for particular groups such as lemurs. We investigated whether simple changes in food presentation could increase activity levels in captive ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) and reduce the removal by lemurs of food intended for hyrax (Procavia capensis) and porcupine (Hystrix cristata) (pirating) housed in the same enclosure. We varied two aspects of food presentation for a population of eight L. catta housed at the Santa Ana Zoo in a repeated measures, factorial design: the presence or absence of browse in food boxes, and the clumping or spatial separation of food boxes. The number of animals in the group engaged in different categories of behaviors was recorded with scans every 60 s for 2 h after feeding. Neither the addition of browse (P=0.58) nor spatial separation of food boxes (P=0.13) increased lemur activity levels in the first 70 min post-feeding, but addition of browse significantly raised activity in the last 50 min (P=0.038). Adding browse more than doubled (to 78

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 116
Issue 1
Pages 88-95
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.06.012
Language English
Author Address Joint Science Department of the Claremont Colleges, Keck Science Center, 925 North Mills Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Enrichment
  5. Feeding
  6. Health
  7. Hyrax
  8. Lemurs
  9. Mammals
  10. Methodologies
  11. Methods
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. porcupines
  14. Primates
  15. Rodents
  16. Techniques
  17. Zoo and captive wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed