Ground substrate affects activity budgets and hair loss in outdoor captive groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Brianne Beisner, Lynne A. Isbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

How the captive environment influences the behavior of animals is relevant to the well-being of captive animals. Captivity diverges from the natural environment in many ways, and one goal of enrichment practices is to encourage species-typical behavior in these unnatural environments. This study investigated the influence of grass vs. gravel substrate on activity budgets and degree of hair loss in seven groups of captive rhesus macaques housed in outdoor enclosures at the California National Primate Research Center. Groups having grass substrate spent a greater proportion of their time foraging and a smaller proportion of time grooming compared with groups having gravel substrate. Increased time spent grooming in gravel enclosures may have contributed to significantly greater hair loss in those enclosures. A causal relationship between ground substrate on foraging and grooming, and therefore hair loss, is strengthened by similar changes in activity budgets and hair loss in a single group that was moved from gravel to grass substrate halfway through the study. These results add to growing evidence that substrate type in captivity is important to consider because it affects animal well-being. In particular, these results reveal that grass substrate is more effective than gravel in stimulating foraging and reducing allo-grooming to levels that are comparable to wild populations, and enable animals to maintain healthier coats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1168
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Volume70
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Fingerprint

alopecia
activity pattern
Macaca mulatta
hair
gravel
grooming (animal behavior)
grooming
substrate
grasses
foraging
grass
animal
captivity
outdoor enclosures
animal well-being
captive animals
animal behavior
Primates
loss
wild population

Keywords

  • Captive environment
  • Colony management
  • Foraging
  • Grooming
  • Primates
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Ground substrate affects activity budgets and hair loss in outdoor captive groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). / Beisner, Brianne; Isbell, Lynne A.

In: American Journal of Primatology, Vol. 70, No. 12, 01.12.2008, p. 1160-1168.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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