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Presentation is everything with Animal Enrichment

Presentation is everything.

Have you ever introduced a new enrichment item and been disappointed by the animal’s reaction?  Do they explore it briefly and then ignore it?

The new Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals addresses animal enrichment and cage spatial considerations.  It proposes that using only floor area to calculate space requirements may not be sufficient to determine adequate cage size.  According to the Guide, for some species, cage volume and spatial arrangement may be more important.  This determination can be useful when locating enrichments in the primary enclosure.

Some animals, most notably primates, cats and arboreal animals use vertical space to a great extent.  For these animals, the placement of enrichment devices at a variety of levels exploits natural behaviors and provides the opportunity to present enrichment items in a variety of ways.   Items can be suspended from enclosure ceilings, shelves, and perches or placed in locations that require the animal to find them by moving throughout the enclosure.

The addition of hammocks to the enclosure provides another opportunity to use the volume of the enclosure to remove themselves from a group, collect items or provide a vantage point.  Think up.

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