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Interaction with a bovine cortical bone in the Finnraccoon (Nyctereutes procyonoides ussuriensis)

By Tarja Koistinen, Juhani Sepponen, Hannu T. Korhonen

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Abstract

Finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides ussuriensis) are farmed for their fur. The welfare of Finnraccoons in the current housing conditions has not been thorough documented. The aim of the present study is to measure the juvenile Finnraccoons’ interaction with a commonly used activity object, namely bovine cortical bone. The subjects of the study were 16 sister pairs of juvenile Finnraccoons (born in May) housed in commercial housing conditions. The behaviour of the Finnraccoons was recorded and the interaction with the bone was registered from video recordings in two time points; at the time when the deciduous teeth are being replaced with the permanent ones (September), and later in autumn (November). In order to evaluate how much the Finnraccoons value the access to the bone, the effect of two-weeks deprivation of the bone was recorded in half of the animals (8 pairs of Finnraccoons) in both time points. The duration and frequency of various types of interactions with the bone were continuously recorded for 15 mins from each hour of the day and statistically analysed by using Linear Mixed Model (SAS). The Finnraccoon pairs interacted with the bone a mean from 2 to 8% of time. The time (month) did not affect the interaction with the bone, but both the percentage of time and frequency of the interaction with the bone increased after the deprivation treatments (after returning the access to the bone) in the Finnraccoons deprived of the bone. Oral activities were the most frequent activities with the bone, but oral activity combined with the use of paws was the longest duration interaction with the bone. The interaction with the bone was not randomly distributed throughout the day, but was most intense in early morning. The present results show that the Finnraccoons interact regularly with a bovine cortical bone, and they do not lost interest towards the bone with time. The bone induces various behaviours and provides a long lasting, biologically and behaviourally relevant activity object in the Finnraccoon. Bone is a significant environmental enrichment in the Finnraccoon.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 196
Pages 100-107
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.07.005
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Tags
  1. Deprivation
  2. Environment
  3. Fur farming
  4. Housing
  5. welfare