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Use of In-Cage Shelters by Laboratory Rats

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The effect of providing a shelter to single-housed rats was measured in terms of the preference shown for a cage containing a shelter compared with a barren cage, the range of behaviours performed and the apparent fearfulness of the animals. All animals showed a strong preference for cages containing a shelter and rats housed in this environment showed increased exploratory behaviour and were apparently less fearful, based on their willingness to leave the home-cage. It would seem appropriate to provide enclosed shelters within the cages of laboratory rats as a way of improving their environment.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ENRICHMENT; HOUSING; RATS; SHELTERS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 1997

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