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An analysis of regurgitation and reingestion in captive chimpanzees

By K. C. Baker, S. P. Easley

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Regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) is a potentially self-injurious behaviour in nonhuman primates and is a common problem among captive primates. The temporal and contextual distribution of R/R and its relationship to diet were assessed in 13 indoor-housed chimpanzees living in pairs and trios. A focal animal, instantaneous point-sampling technique was used to record behaviour from a previously developed ethogram of 33 behaviours and the data obtained were used to calculate scores for R/R, two other classes of abnormal behaviour (abnormal behaviours without and with oral components), and affiliative social behavior. R/R was observed in 85% of study subjects, an elevated proportion in comparison with a previously published survey of captive chimpanzee populations. Contexts and temporal patterns of R/R suggest that detection of this behavior may in many cases require observations outside of daily management routines. Social disturbances did not elicit this behavior. Statistical tests showed no relationship between individual differences in R/R rates and rates of other abnormal behaviour classes, time engaged in affiliative behaviours, number of cagemates or housing history; nor were sex differences detected. Meal composition did not effect the time devoted to R/R. Statistical tests showed a strong positive relationship between rates of R/R and elapsed time since feeding. The results suggest that increasing meal frequency or constantly providing available edible material may prove more effective than altering meal composition. Temporal distributions of R/R differed from those of abnormal behaviours, suggesting that factors such as boredom, hunger or other sources of stress may differentially affect the expression of various classes of abnormal behaviour.

Date 1996
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 49
Issue 4
Pages 403-415
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Analysis
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal diseases
  5. Animal nutrition
  6. Animal roles
  7. Animal welfare
  8. Chimpanzees
  9. Composition
  10. Deviant behavior
  11. Diets
  12. Feeding behavior
  13. Great ape
  14. Ingestion
  15. Mammals
  16. Primates
  17. regurgitation
  18. Social behavior
  19. Stress
  20. Zoo and captive wild animals