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Effects of experience and cage enrichment on predatory skills of black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes)

Journal of Mammalogy

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Abstract

We studied ontogeny of predatory skills of growing black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) raised under different captive conditions. To test effects of maturation, experience, and cage enrichment on predatory behavior, we exposed 70 juvenile black-footed ferrets to different numbers of live hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) throughout development. Both maturation and experience increased the likelihood of a black-footed ferret making a successful kill. Black-footed ferrets exposed to greater environmental complexity (enriched cage, including encouragement of food-searching behaviors) also were more likely to kill than ferrets raised in a deprived environment. Behavioral studies of captive-raised black-footed ferrets can help refine current breeding techniques and ultimately enhance efforts to recover this endangered carnivore.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of experience and cage enrichment on predatory skills of black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes)
Series title:
Journal of Mammalogy
Volume
80
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
263
Last page:
269
Number of Pages:
7