ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 88 Number 3
An evaluation of the mating behaviour of the adult male agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) using a service cage. (159)
The major objective of this study was to evaluate the trainability of the adult male agouti using a service cage (SC) for mating. The study included two phases. Phase 1 involved designing and constructing service cages (SC). Phase 2 focused on acclimatizing the agouti to the SC and evaluating the animals’ responses. Initially agoutis were placed in the SC for 15 minutes. Thereafter, the time spent in the SC was incrementally increased by 15 minutes every two days over sixteen days. Behavioural traits evaluated were: (1) response to capture; (2) response on entering the SC; (3) activity in the SC; (4) response to food, and (5) response on leaving the SC. Scores ranging from 1 (least desirable responses) to 4 (most desirable responses) were allocated to each behavioural trait based on the animals’ response. Prototype 3 of the three service cages built to house the agoutis proved the most suitable design. Total mean scores improved from 6.5 ± 0.5 (Day 1) to 18.5 ± 1.5 (Day 16). The relationship between time and scores was significant (P<0.05). The largest rates of change occurred on Days 5 and 6 (28.57%). It was concluded that the adult, male agouti can be trained to use a SC.
Keywords: behavioural traits, rate of change, response, service cage