An initial exploration of mirror behaviour in the ferret, Mustela putorius furo

Vinzya Dhanboora, Richard Corrigan, V. Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Responses to mirrors vary in non-human animals. Many species respond socially to mirrors with relatively few species dem-onstrating self-recognition in mirrors. In this study, we investigated the responses of ferrets to mirrors. Six adult ferrets (3 males, 3 females, all over a year old) were exposed to mirrors and their responses were investigated over three experimental conditions (baseline, mirror preference, mark test) in a repeated measures design. Upon initial presentation, the ferrets showed more approach and sniffing behaviour toward the mirror than the non-reflective surface. The ferrets also showed a preference for the mirror and spent more time in close proximity to the mirror than the non-reflective surface. In the mirror mark test, the ferrets showed more approach, sniffing and self-exploration behaviour when they were marked and presented with the mirror compared to when they were marked and presented with the non-reflective surface, or when they were sham-marked and presented with either surface. Our findings are suggestive that ferrets show interest in mirrors and that further study exploring the responses of ferrets to mirrors is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1327
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume24
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • ferrets
  • mirrors
  • mirror preference
  • mirror mark test

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