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Gerbils Prefer Partially Darkened Cages

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A test system previously described by Blom et al (1993) was used to investigate the preference of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) with respect to light intensity in their cage, by comparing a standard transparent rodent cage with three cages darkened by either 25, 50 or 75 per cent. The ten animals included in the test spent most of their time in the cages that were darkened by 50 and 75 per cent, thus relatively avoiding the standard cage. Preference was mainly determined by visits longer than 15min and was therefore possibly associated with sleeping behaviour. Food and water consumption were not restricted to the preferred cages.

These results imply that gerbils should be housed preferably in cages that allow sheltering in relatively dark places. For this purpose, placing shelter objects in the cage should be considered.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 1995-05-01

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