The effects of olfactory stimulation on the behavior of captive ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)

Brittanny Baker, Sienna Taylor, V. Tamara Montrose

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

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    Abstract

    Ring-tailed lemurs reside in many animal collections worldwide. Lemur welfare may be a cause of concern due to some captive individuals exhibiting stereotypic behavior. Despite these concerns, there has been little exploration of methods of environmental enrichment for ring-tailed lemurs. Olfactory stimulation can enhance captive animal welfare by encouraging species-typical behaviors, enhancing behavioral diversity, and decreasing stereotypic behaviors. We aimed to investigate the effects of olfactory stimulation via lavender, peppermint, coconut, and prey odor upon the behavior of eight captive ring-tailed lemurs. We exposed the lemurs to six individual odor conditions (odor control, novel object control, lavender, peppermint, coconut, and Morio worms) and observed them for 4 hr a day for 3 days with an intervening period of 4 days between conditions. We recorded the lemurs’ behavior under each condition using instantaneous scan sampling. We found significant effects of olfactory stimulation on the ring-tailed lemurs’ behavior in the initial analysis but these did not survive correction for multiple testing. Overall, while our findings are suggestive of a general effect of olfactory stimulation on the captive ring-tailed lemurs they did not indicate a marked influence of olfactory condition. However, further investigation with a larger sample size and more biologically relevant odors may be beneficial to fully examine potential effects of olfactory stimulation in captive lemurs
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to) 16–22
    Number of pages7
    JournalZoo Biology
    Volume37
    Issue number1
    Early online date14 Dec 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

    Fingerprint

    Lemuridae
    Mentha piperita nothosubsp. piperita
    Lavandula
    stereotyped behavior
    odors
    coconuts
    animal exploration and collection
    odor control
    environmental enrichment
    captive animals
    Lemur
    animal welfare
    Lemur catta
    sampling
    testing
    methodology

    Keywords

    • environmental enrichment
    • lemur behavior
    • odors
    • zoo welfare

    Cite this

    Baker, Brittanny ; Taylor, Sienna ; Montrose, V. Tamara. / The effects of olfactory stimulation on the behavior of captive ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). In: Zoo Biology. 2018 ; Vol. 37, No. 1. pp. 16–22.
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    abstract = "Ring-tailed lemurs reside in many animal collections worldwide. Lemur welfare may be a cause of concern due to some captive individuals exhibiting stereotypic behavior. Despite these concerns, there has been little exploration of methods of environmental enrichment for ring-tailed lemurs. Olfactory stimulation can enhance captive animal welfare by encouraging species-typical behaviors, enhancing behavioral diversity, and decreasing stereotypic behaviors. We aimed to investigate the effects of olfactory stimulation via lavender, peppermint, coconut, and prey odor upon the behavior of eight captive ring-tailed lemurs. We exposed the lemurs to six individual odor conditions (odor control, novel object control, lavender, peppermint, coconut, and Morio worms) and observed them for 4 hr a day for 3 days with an intervening period of 4 days between conditions. We recorded the lemurs’ behavior under each condition using instantaneous scan sampling. We found significant effects of olfactory stimulation on the ring-tailed lemurs’ behavior in the initial analysis but these did not survive correction for multiple testing. Overall, while our findings are suggestive of a general effect of olfactory stimulation on the captive ring-tailed lemurs they did not indicate a marked influence of olfactory condition. However, further investigation with a larger sample size and more biologically relevant odors may be beneficial to fully examine potential effects of olfactory stimulation in captive lemurs",
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    The effects of olfactory stimulation on the behavior of captive ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). / Baker, Brittanny; Taylor, Sienna; Montrose, V. Tamara.

    In: Zoo Biology, Vol. 37, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 16–22.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

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    N2 - Ring-tailed lemurs reside in many animal collections worldwide. Lemur welfare may be a cause of concern due to some captive individuals exhibiting stereotypic behavior. Despite these concerns, there has been little exploration of methods of environmental enrichment for ring-tailed lemurs. Olfactory stimulation can enhance captive animal welfare by encouraging species-typical behaviors, enhancing behavioral diversity, and decreasing stereotypic behaviors. We aimed to investigate the effects of olfactory stimulation via lavender, peppermint, coconut, and prey odor upon the behavior of eight captive ring-tailed lemurs. We exposed the lemurs to six individual odor conditions (odor control, novel object control, lavender, peppermint, coconut, and Morio worms) and observed them for 4 hr a day for 3 days with an intervening period of 4 days between conditions. We recorded the lemurs’ behavior under each condition using instantaneous scan sampling. We found significant effects of olfactory stimulation on the ring-tailed lemurs’ behavior in the initial analysis but these did not survive correction for multiple testing. Overall, while our findings are suggestive of a general effect of olfactory stimulation on the captive ring-tailed lemurs they did not indicate a marked influence of olfactory condition. However, further investigation with a larger sample size and more biologically relevant odors may be beneficial to fully examine potential effects of olfactory stimulation in captive lemurs

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