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Managing Animal Behaviour through Environmental Enrichment Iván Lozano-Ortega
Title - Summary - Content - Introduction - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - References

4. ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT.

4.1. Definition

Environmental enrichment is the provision of stimuli which promote the expression of species- appropriate behavioural and mental activities in an understimulating environment. (Reinhardt, 1999).

Environmental enrichment techniques have been used on captive wildlife for several years in Zoos as a tool to encourage the display of a variety of behaviours in different species. This concept has been around since Robert Yerkes (1925) wrote, "The greatest possibility for improvement in our provision for captive primates lies with the invention and installation of apparatus, which can be used for play or work." (Sheperdson,1998)

Since Yerkes, there are several authors that have agreed that managing the environment of captive animals may be give them an opportunity to optimise their activity time, and display some behaviours that they show in the wild. There are two different approaches for environmental enrichment: the "naturalistic" and the "mechanistic" one. (Segonds Pichon, 1994)

The naturalistic approach defends the idea that technology and information from field studies must be combined to make naturalistic modifications in physical and social environments (Forthman Quick, 1984). The mechanistic approach was proposed by Markowitz. He believed that captive animals should exert some control over their environment. Through the incorporation of devices that make animals display certain behaviours. Markowitz's group has devised games for use in traditional enclosures; in newer, less restrictive enclosures, they have constructed animated preys, and trees and vines electronically sensitive to pressure and sound; food is delivered according to computer-programmed schedules triggered by these actions (Forthman Quick, 1984)

4.2. Function

In captivity, most of the physiological needs of an animal are provided by its keepers, but a wild counterpart will conversely expend energy meeting these needs in an unpredictable environment (AAZK,1998). Enrichment can promote species-typical behaviour by providing the animals with a complex and unpredictable environment. Improve animal well being by increasing exercise, satisfying "behavioural needs" and optimising the level of stimulation. Also reducing abnormal behaviour patterns (AAZK,1998).

4.3. Uses

In the wild, the animals have to search for their food, shelter, conspecifics, predators and defend territories. Changes in enclosure structures, feeding schedules or social groupings, can reduce neurotic stereotypical behaviours such as pacing or over-grooming. Also, promote behaviours which resemble those observed in the wild. An enriched environment should also offer a captive animal a sense of control resulting from the ability to make choices for itself. Whether or not to hide, what kind of temperature and weather to experience, and when and how to feed. (AAZK,1998).

4.3.1 Uses in rehabilitation and rescue centres

At rehabilitation and rescue centres, environmental enrichment is useful to provide animal welfare. Also, it may enhance training procedures for those animals that are intended to be released, stimulating different natural behaviours such as foraging, orientation, avoidance of predators and social relationships.

In Zoos the animal collection rather changes the population is stable and confined to particular enclosures and exhibits. On the other side, rescue and rehabilitation centres manage floating populations of different species , depending on localisation site, time of the year, educational campaigns, law enforcement, etc. Also, rescue and rehabilitation centres can not have specialised enclosures for the species like Zoos have. This makes the develop of environmental enrichment programs more difficult in this kind of centres than in Zoos.

However, the studies made in zoos as an example of the use of environmental enrichment in captive wildlife have promote the use in these centres as part of animal welfare or training programs.

Despite some operating differences, research on environmental enrichment in Zoos are definitely useful for rescue and rehabilitation centres. Nevermind the place, the aim is always the same, to encourage normal behaviours.



4.4. Classification of enrichments:

The following classification of environmental enrichment alternatives was based on the classification made by Segonds Pichon, (1994). It was reviewed and complemented by the author to adapt it to the use in rescue and rehabilitation centres.

4.4.1. Physical Enrichment: Space and Furniture, may be permanent or not, in this case, modifications to physical elements of the enclosure, and the addition of novel items to animal habitats can stimulate natural behaviours (AAZK,1998).

4.4.1.1. Space:

Area: Should be designed according to species, size of the group and animal size, weight sex and age. However, at rescue and rehabilitation centres designing a specific area according to these conditions could be not feasible.

Volume: Utilising whole three-dimensional space to increase and enhance the limited space of the enclosure. Length, width and height should be carefully planned.

4.4.1.2. Furniture: Any object the animal can interact with. The most used are trees, trunks, branches and ropes. Some can be moved, added and removed from an enclosure to add novelty, create new locomotive pathways, and encourage exploratory behaviours. Non-stationary furniture serves to add unpredictability to locomotion. (AAZK,1998).

4.4.2. Occupational devices

4.4.2.1. Manipulable objects: Providing several types of manipulable objects enables the animals to choose among them. Exchanging or adding items periodically will increase use over longer periods of time, and there should be enough objects so that dominant individuals do not monopolise them. (Schapiro, 1991) these objects can be considered novel if they are changed frequently to stimulate investigatory behaviours (AAZK,1998).

4.4.3. Feeding enrichment techniques

Classification of feeding enrichment according with Nassar-Montoya (1999), reviewed and adapted by the author to the use in rescue and rehabilitation centres.

4.4.3.1. Novel food Items: that are not part of the usual captive diet of the species but may not cause nutritional disorders if used as an not daily enrichment.

4.4.3.2. Feeding enrichment devices: This type of devices are very popular and can be designed by almost any person, they are useful for training purposes.

4.4.4. Senses enrichment:

4.4.4.1. Smell: The use of different fragrances to encourage the animals to smell different places in the enclosure encouraging exploratory behaviour.

4.4.4.2. Auditive: Using different sounds to attract the attention of the animal as part of training in rehabilitation programs.

4.4.5. Physiological needs enrichment

The provision in the enclosure of proper Temperature, humidity and photoperiod conditions to stimulate natural behaviour in each species.

4.4.6. Social Enrichment

In some species it is important to provide the opportunity of interact with animals of the same or different species. This, in order to reproduce natural behaviours in social and even non-social species.

Socialisation is very important in rehabilitation of social species, since this can lead to a success or a failure in releasing programs.



Environmental Enrichment Techniques

Materials and Methods

Cautions

Physical Devices Furniture.

1. Trees and bushes: provides shade and shelter.


Different species of trees and bushes are planted in the enclosure, according with the area available, The species chosen can be native in the animal's natural habitat. Used for creating a more natural environment and to provide shadow for terrestrial animals in outside enclosures, for arboreal mammals can be used to provide a climbing stimuli and natural behaviours, for birds it provides perching and a safe place to rest.

Some species can be toxic if ingested . Also, it is important to choose well the species of animals that will not make great damage to the living tree, many mammals are so destructive, that their enclosures can only be planted if very large. (Copenhagen Zoo, 1990).


2. Trunks


Placed in different positions into the enclosures, can be used to provide climbing opportunities, marking spots, exploratory behaviours, play activity, etc.


It is important that these cannot be used as a way to escape from the enclosure.


3. Dry- rotten wood

Placed in enclosure possibly with mealworms and larvae. (Copenhagen Zoo, 1990).


Check for unwanted invertebrates before place it in the enclosure.



4. Branches

Branches with leaves placed in the enclosure and to resemble a living tree, provides perching sites and useful with destructive species. They can be changed sporadically having in mind to leave some for range recognition in some species.


Some species of plants can be toxic if ingested


5. Ropes

Hanging ropes resembling bridges, swings and lianas, with or without knots. Increases climbing stimuli and furthers sense of equilibrium

(Copenhagen Zoo, 1990).


Some species can destroy this ropes very easily, the durability depends on how many enrichment is made from ropes for how many individuals, the less individuals and the more ropes the better. Also it is better to use ropes made with natural fibers because some species would try to eat them.

6. Nest boxes

Made from a wood box with a hole in one side, according with the size of the species. Provides shelter, and a place to rest. It should be placed where the animal will feel safe. i.e. on the ground far from the door of the enclosure for a rodent or other terrestrial animal, hanging from the roof of the enclosure in the case of birds and arboreal animals, or constituting a refuge for reptiles.

In some species it is better to provide several boxes to prevent agression between individuals.



7. Suspension Platforms

A platform made from wood two or three times the size of the individual. A well positioned platform can allow good opportunities for sun bathing by animals within enclosures. they can be easily made and the suspended from the ceiling of a cage in a sunny location (Herron,1997).

In enclosures containing groups it is better if several plataforms are placed in.



8. Substrates

One or several substrates in the enclosure will provide an locomotion, exploratory, play and foraging behaviour opportunities and favorite places to rest, these could be soil, sand, wood chips, wood wool, leaves, hay, etc. A variety of substrates offer tactile stimulation and digging opportunities (AAZK,1998).

Some animals can eat their bedding, in this case it is better to remove all the substrate of the enclosure if the base is a concrete floor, or place the individual in a concrete floor enclosure.


9. Plants and grass

Some animals can eat their bedding, in this case it is better to remove all the substrate of the enclosure if the base is a concrete floor, or place the individual in a concrete floor enclosure. (Vermeer, 1994)

It is very important to avoid to place poisonous plants in the enclosure.



10. Hammocks

Hammocks can be made from a variety of materials, including old sacks, cloth bags and hoses interweaved. Then are placed hanging from the furnishing or the cage top with chains. Provide resting or hiding places (Ablaka, 1998).

Use always resistant materials according with the species. Sometimes it would be difficult to clean them.



11. Pans of sand or dirt

A pan according with the size of the species can be placed in one corner of the enclosure. It provides dust baths opportunities.

It is better to use river sand due to the grain size.


12. Water

In running water, waterfalls and artificial rain a waterpump is needed. In ponds and lakes just the hole on the ground is needed, having in mind that sometimes it has to be built in concrete. For spraying is need just the sprayer.


In running water is important to use a filter to reuse the water. In concrete ponds is important to maintain the hygiene doing the cleaning depending on the species housed, size of the pond and number of the individuals. In the case of species that could drown, the deep of the pond must be maintained to a minimum or provide some furniture for the animal to use it to get out of the water, such as branches or logs.

13. Mudwallows

A hole is digged on the ground of the enclosure and a mix of water and dirt is made to create mud, on inside enclosures a box containing mud can be placed. Offer protection from temperature and flies ( Parker, 1996).

The mud must not offer any risk to the animal such as drowning or stranding.



14. Sprinkler systems

A water hose is placed on the roof of the enclosure, it can be set with one or many spray sights depending on enclosure size and the species that the system is being developed for. (Herron, 1997).

Inside the enclosure, there must be some places where the animals can avoid the water. The duration of the spray must be controlled in order to avoid a temperature drop or an accumulation of water on the floor of the enclosure.

15. Rocks

Different sizes and shapes, and placed in different sites of the enclosure, provides climbing opportunities and observation sites, This counteracts stereotyped behaviour.

Some monkeys (Cebus Spp.) can use little rocks to hit window glasses of the enclosure in an attempt to break them. (Pers. observation)


16. Roots

These can be from trees, bushes, plants or grasses, with widely ramified root systems (Copenhagen Zoo, 1990). With or without hidden food inside it.

It is better to check out the roots before place them in the enclosure in order to avoid the entrance of undesirable organisms into the enclosure.

17. Bird of prey silhouette

A bird of prey silhouette is made from a piece of wood and is painted with black color. Then is attached to a wire that runs from one side to the other one above the roof of the enclosure. This silhouette is moved from side to side pulling a rope that is joined to the figure. This causes eustress in the animals, important to encourage escape behaviour in animals, enhances group behaviour (Law G,. 1993).

The silhouette must finish its short time appearance in a hiding place where the animals cannot see it permanently.


18. Predator dummy

Skins of several terrestrial predators simulating the shape of the animal, used with movement can cause eustress in the animals. Also, the figure of a human hunter that can emit gun shots sound.

The offering of this enrichment technique must be for a short period of time and with long intervals without it, a week minimum, in order to avoid a distress situation.

19. Simulated prey items

From a bag containing scents of blood or other prey scent, to a elaborated dummies resembling preys. This items must have movement provided with a power source such as an engine, and the animal must not be able to reach them, these are incorporated into predator exhibits to encourage stalk-and-chase behaviors (AAZK,1998).

If the animal reach them, the item must not provide a risk for its health, like having nails or other hazardous materials.

20. Visual barriers

Rocks, logs, nest boxes, branches, placed in different parts of the enclosure including low and high level, coffee sacks, or for some species including birds or reptiles a dark coloured sheets of paper or cardboard placed near the corners of the enclosure. Sometimes these reduces agression. It can also increase the complexity of an enclosure by increasing the psychological space and requiring more exploration and orientation (DWCT, 1999) These barriers can be moved to a different location within the enclosure to improve the effectiveness of avoiding conflicts.

All the visual barriers must be constructed in materials that do not represent any harm for the individuals, like plastic or sharp metals.



21. Large hollow logs

One or several logs are placed in the enclosure to provide terrestrial animals the opportunity of chose the more comfortable hiding place, it is useful when is necessary to restrain the animal, covering one end with a piece of wood or anything solid and the other one with a bag or net.

The logs must be replaced according with the use.



22. Reptile Tube Hide


A simple device made with the centre tube of an old photographic paper roll and a lenght of wooden dowel thread through it which can be fitted into a plastic tank as a raised hide (Herron, 1997).

The tube must be changed every time a new individual is placed in the tank and the dimensions must fit its size.

Occupational devices

23. Manipulable objects

Mirrors, boxes, pinatas, bark from trees, leaves, hay and cutted grass, skins from other animals (Copenhagen Zoo, 1990).

None of these items could represent a hazard for the animals, the mirrors have to be resistant to heavy strokes and must be provided only for short periods of time.

24. Brush top

A brush top is fixed to the furnishing of the enclosure to provide grooming opportunities to single housed animals or it can be a little loose, to make it more interesting for the animal (K. Cowan, Personal communication).

It is important to stop the animal from eat the plastic components, if it starts doing this it is better to remove the brush top.

25. Rawhide strips and rope knots:

Rawhide strips from six to seven inches long are dipped into water before place them into the enclosure to stimulate ripping and tearing activities (Lyczak and Oiler, 1996). The rope knots are simply made of 4' to 5' sections of hemp rope tied in multiple knots. For the animals to shred it. (Steele, 1999)


26. Tug of war

A rope running between two cages in such a way that animals in one cage can pull rope from others. this device increases the interest of animals in ropes because when one animal is on it, it seems alive for the other one. (DWCT,1999). If there is not a neighbor, the tug-of-war can be play between the animal and the keeper (Miller and Poulsen, 1996).

The animals can hurt their gums with the rope or the wire mesh, its important to check for these problems and if necessary, remove the rope.


27. Chewing items

Place in the enclosure different items like branches, bark, blocks of wood, or cardboard boxes.

Anything safe chewable.


28. Pine cones


Collect an amount of pine cones and place them in the floor of the enclosure or in the cage top.

In enclosures containing groups there must be a cone for everyone to avoid conflicts. These cones must be retired after the animals lose interest in them to repeat it some time later.

Feeding Enrichment techniques

29. Daily feeding frequency

Several feedings instead of a big one.


30. Feeding time: Diurnal or nocturnal species.


It is important to have in mind that a lot of the species in the wild have the dawn and the dusk as their more important foraging time.

31. Change or rotation of foods


This could be daily, weekly or seasonal, specially when one food item is hard to find in the market.


32. Food scattering: scatter feeding allows for flexibility in both timing and composition, which maintains the novelty of the enrichment (Dobberstine and Sheperdson, 1994).



33. Unchopped and unpeeled foods: Shape, size, and color variation.


In some species is not practical due to difficulty in handling or ingestion and wasting.

34. Hidden food in the furnishing of the enclosure. (Oregon Zoo, 1999).

When possible, inside hollow logs, tall grass or in the trees of the enclosure.


Some animals will destroy the furnishing looking for their food.



35. Log piles


Logs of different sizes are place one above the other to create a pile with a space in the middle used for hide food inside (Parker, 1996).

Some animals will move the logs and heavy ones can hurt them.

36. Number of food dispensers


Several dispensers placed in different levels and sites of the enclosure.


Its important in enclosures containing groups with agressive individuals to place similar numbers of dispensers for the number of animals to avoid competence at feeding time.

Feeding Enrichment techniques: Novel food items

37. Sugar cane

Pieces of sugar cane placed in the enclosure.

Its better to provide several pieces in enclosures containing groups.

38. Whole coconuts


Unpeeled coconuts placed in the enclosure


Its better to provide several coconuts in enclosures containing groups.

39. Knuckle or tail bones (Steele, 1999), also whole horsetails.

The number of bones or tails that are placed in the enclosure must be according with the number of animals.

If not consumed during the day they must be removed from the enclosure.


Feeding Enrichment techniques: Feeding enrichment devices

40. Natural sources


Planted trees, bushes and plants in the enclosure that can provide natural foods for the species also cutted branches from tree species reported to be consumed by the species in the wild, and placed in a high level of the enclosure.

The animals will have changes in their diet and is important to do research about nutrient composition and amount consumed of these foods.

41. Frozen blood


meat juice, ice frozen in trays or various sizes containers, (Folsom City Zoo, 1999) placed in the enclosure for single animals or several for groups.

Its important to check out the sanitary quality of the blood before offering.

42. Ice Lollies

Fruits inside ice blocks (Herron,1997). In a bucket or a plastic glass an amount of water, near the half of the container, is placed with some fruits, then are placed to freeze. After this more water is added and the bucket or the glass is placed to freeze again. In some cases a stick of wood can be set into the ice block to provide a handler for the animal. In the case of carnivores the ice block can contain pieces of meat.

Its important to have in mind that the water level must be higher than the level of foods to secure them into the ice block.


43. Live prey

Where permitted and if necessary live prey can be offered to carnivores, placing the prey into the enclosure. The enclosure must not provide escape opportunities for the prey.

In the case of reptiles and amphibians, living prey can pose a risk if the prey organism is not inmediately eaten (Hayes, 1998).

44. Live insects scattered in hay or placed in a forage tube(Steele,1999).

Insects such as mealworms, crickets or locusts are placed in scattered hay on the ground of the enclosure or inside a tube.


: the amount of hay scattered must be sufficient for the insects to hide, but not impossible for the animals to find them.

45. Hidden live prey in Hollow logs (Hammond, 1998).

Inside a standing hollow log is placed the live prey to provide it a opportunity to hide from the predator.

The log must not provide a risk for the animal to get stuck in.


46. Swinging Feeder

A piece of bamboo with the branch ends remaining, it can be attached to the cage ceiling with string or wire and then pieces of fruit can be added to it. (Herron, 1997)

The branch ends of the bamboo must be rounded to avoid injures on the animals.

47. De Brazza Monkey Food dispenser


It consists of a length of plastic piping with holes drilled into the side are filled with small food items such as raisins, nuts, etc. The monkeys pick the piping up and manipulate it to get the food out. (Oregon Zoo, 1999)

Some species can use the pipe for agonistic behaviour.


48. Food dispenser


A log with many holes being cut around the surface of it. Then the holes are filled with favoured food items (Herron, 1997). This device can be placed on the ground or hanging from the roof of the enclosure.

It is important to remove the log from the enclosure once the animals have finished the food, to maintain novelty.

49. Vollom Aviary Enrichment

Mealworms and crickets placed in clear plastic tubes holes are placed on the ground for the birds. (Oregon Zoo, 1999)

The size and weight of the pipe depends on the species.

50. Activity balls

Plastic balls used for pet dogs, with two holes so they can be filled with a multitude of items including sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and mealworms (Cowan and Musson, 1998). This device can store other types of food.

Once the animals have eaten the foods, the balls must be removed and washed for the next use.

51. Bamboo Stem Feeder


A length of hollow bamboo, which is filled with any favoured food items. When filled it can be sealed with a bung of paper for stopping contents being lost, especially if insects are used. (Herron, 1997), Instead of bamboo, PVC tubes can be used.

Its better to provide one feeder for each animal in enclosures containing groups.



52. Hanging food baskets

The baskets are made with two flower pot holders with fine framework, joined at the top. The device can be attached with rope and a pulley and once the initial setting up is done are easily raised and lowered at feed times. When adding small food types for some species, a fine mesh can be added to reduce food falling through the basket when being filled. (Herron, 1997) Inside the basket an activity ball can be placed to make more difficult for the

animal to obtain the food that is inside the ball.

In enclosures containing groups, several devices must be placed and removed when the food is finished.



53. Foraging basket

A basket of any shape can be used to fill with a substrate of many types (e.g. wood shavings), it can be suspended from perching by rope. (Herron, 1997)


In outside enclosures the rope can get stuck in surrounding branches and they must be removed before placing the device in the enclosure.

54. Pinecone feeders

Large quantities of pinecones can be used when they are needed for big groups of animals. Any thick foodstuff can be filled in between the kernels of the pinecone. (Herron, 1997)

The cones must be removed from the enclosure before place new ones in, to maintain novelty.

55. Suspended bag


A bag or net suspended from a rope, containing a food item (Mason, 1995).


Many animals can damage the device and for this reason the materials used must be safe for the health of the individuals.

56. Cage Top Feeding

Pieces of food provided are slightly larger than the gauge of the mesh. (Britt, 1993)

Food not reached must be removed from the top of the cage after one day.

57. Sap feeder

Sections of dowel drilled length-wise with holes which are filled with gum arabic. (McGrew, Brennan & Russell, 1986). This is placed hanging from the roof or the furniture of the enclosure.

In enclosures containing groups it is better to offer several devices.

58. Feeding poles


A plastic box filled with favoured food items is used with a hole cut in the bottom, a smooth-edged wooden template is fixed around the hole at the bottom of the box, and this is clamped to the mesh roof of the cage. The access to the box can only be gained by climbing up a swing pole, which is loosely fixed to the roof but not to the floor ( Law, 1993). Another type of pole is made from pickaxe handles and narrow-gauge, wooden brush shafts. A large diameter brace and bit is used to drill a hole at an angle partly through the wide end of the pickaxe handle. A short section of brush shaft, four to six inches in length, is then whittled to the appropriate diameter and hammered into the hole, favoured foods can be placed on it. A strong wire hook is fixed to the narrow end of the pickaxe handle. The whole thing is then suspended from a high, strong point in the roof ( Law, 1993).

The materials used must not represent any harm to the animals like sharp endings of the poles.



59. Goody boxes

A cardboard box with a few holes, stuffed with leaves and some food items. (Ablaka, 1998), they can be left inside the enclosure for some time, for the animals to play with them until they destroy them.

the boxes must be offered dry and placed in a dry place of the enclosure to avoid fungus growing.

60. Pumpkin feeders


Pumpkins with several small triangular holes are filled with favoured foods (Cleaver, 1994)


Once the animals have finished the food, the pumpkins must be removed from the enclosure.

61. Free-Spinning Feeder Log

Materials and Methods: Two logs about ten inches long are drilled through the center lengthwise and string on a steel cord across the enclosure at a height of about five feet off the floor. The logs are drilled with holes and filled with favoured foods. No access to the logs is possible from the surrounding perches. In order to reach the feeder logs , attempts to balance and walk the cord are necessary ( Dorian, 1993).

The floor under the device must be covered with hay or another soft substrate to avoid injuries in the case that the animals fall down, in their attempt to reach the device.



62. Pineapple tops


The green tops of pineapples can be used, sometimes with a little piece of pineapple left attached or with food items hidden between the leaves. These can be suspended from or speared onto branches (Mason, 1995).

The tops must be washed and cleaned before preparation and offering.

63. Hanging coffee sacks

Clean coffee sacks can be used with some hay inside to hide a favoured food.


The coffee sacks must be well tighted to the furniture of the enclosure, to support the weight of one ore more individuals, since some animals will try to get inside them and they can fall down causing injuries.

Othersenses enrichment: Smell

64. Blood trails


An amount of blood is poured on the ground or furniture of the enclosure making a trail that the animal can follow, this can be done using a plastic bag with a hole. All this can lead to a final reward.

This enrichment technique must not be used frequently in the same enclosure to maintain novelty and to avoid health risks.

65. Scents


Spices, herbs, perfumes, and different animal scents (lure, dung, skins) applied around an exhibit to add interesting olfactory information (AAZK,1998).

Alcohol based scents must be avoided or used with care. The amount of scent poured in the enclosure must be low in order to let the animals avoid the scent if they want to.

66. Fur, hair, or feathers scent


an amount of these-coming from felids, rodents, birds-are microwaved for sterilization, or freezing then they are put in water and scattered splashes of the water in reptile exhibits. (Burr, 1997)

The amount of splashes must be low and located inside the enclosure to avoid distress and to maintain novelty.

67. Auditive

Using records of conspecifics, predators or prey. When sound are used to incite or encourage behaviour, they should be administered in an irregular pattern at sound pressure levels exceeding those of the background sounds (Tromberg, 1994). Habitat sounds can be used permanently.

Some sounds must be used with care, some animals can become nervous to some recordings.



Physiological needs

68.Temperature


Temperature must to be similar or to match the species habitat temperature, according to daily variations using heaters or coolers. In reptiles, a thermal gradient within the enclosure is usually recommended so that the animal can choose its own ideal temperature, which, depending on its physiological condition, may vary slightly from time to time (Skelton, 1996)

The animal should be able to choose the temperature in which to stay within the enclosure. The use of lamps to provide heat must be closely followed since some animals can get burned in an attempt to get closer to the heat source. Dramatic changes in temperature can risk the life of the individuals.

69. Humidity


The humidity of the enclosure must match or be similar to the species habitat humidity. The use of sprays or water sources can help to reach the necessary humidity level.

In amphibians and reptiles, insufficient humidity can produce stress sufficient to cause death (Hayes, 1998).

70. Photoperiod


Light quality and photoperiod requirements should be based on existing conditions within the known natural latitudinal range of the taxon in question (Copenhagen Zoo, 1990).

Continuous light, light deprivation, and inappropriate photoperiods can cause varying symptomatic manifestations ranging from lethargy to sterility and even death (Hayes, 1998).

Social devices

71. Presence of conspecifics: Important in gregarious species, the number and the type (i.e. age and sex), of them is important according with the characteristics of the enclosure. This presence can be: physical, visual, auditive (a recording tape can be used), presence of odors.


It is important the presence of visual barriers in the enclosure to allow animals to retreat from others, (AAZK,1998).



72. Presence of Other species: This only can be used when the enclosure is sufficient large to avoid agonistic interactions among species, and when a specific goal is trying to be achieved, such as rehabilitation or education. This presence can be: physical, visual, auditive, or scents.




The enclosure must provide sufficient places for the different individuals to escape undesirable interactions.


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