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Keep Lab Animals from Boredom with Environmental Enrichment

The purpose of environmental enrichment is clear; offer the animal ways to occupy time, exhibit normal behaviors and remain engaged. Often, our first thought for environmental enrichment is a toy of some sort, however, the value of a toy may diminish over time. Novelty is important to most animals. The longer the animal is exposed to the same toy, the less interested it is; the animal becomes bored with it. Using enrichment toys to provide feed or treats may further degrade the enrichment; it becomes, in effect, only a feed container. This is why multiple environmental enrichment devices are used and rotated in and out of cages.

Devices should be rotated on a schedule. This serves multiple purposes. The items can be sanitized and new items offered. It is easy to do this on the same schedule as changing out wire bar lids, for example. It does require two different items-perhaps one that sits on the cage floor and another that hangs from the cage top, or provides a new shelter for privacy. Vary both type and location for the ultimate novelty experience.

Click here to read about the benefits of Environmental Enrichment.

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