Psychology Faculty Work


Survey of Stereotypic Behavior in Prosimians

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American Journal of Primatology

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Captive animals have been observed to perform a variety of stereotypic behaviors. However, little is known about stereotypic behavior in prosimians. We sent surveys to 96 AZA‐accredited institutions to examine stereotypic behavior in these primates. Forty‐eight surveys were returned, providing information on 440 individuals of 10 genera. According to the responses, 13.2% of the prosimians surveyed exhibited some form of stereotypic behavior. Pacing was the most common behavior. A logistic regression was used to examine intrinsic characteristics that might influence the performance of stereotypic behavior. The genus of the prosimian was a significant predictor of stereotypic behavior. Individuals of the genus Varecia and Microcebuswere more likely to engage in stereotypic behavior than members of the other genera. Rearing history, age, and sex were not significant predictors of stereotypic behavior. To examine the influence of extrinsic variables on stereotypic behavior, we transformed the data into the percentage of individuals within the enclosure that were reported to exhibit stereotypic behavior, and analyzed them at the enclosure level using a general linear model (GLM) analysis of variance (ANOVA). The only environmental variable that significantly predicted stereotypic behavior was the frequency with which enrichment was provided. Frequent enrichment was provided to those exhibits with a higher percentage of prosimians that engaged in stereotypic behavior. The results of this survey suggest that stereotypic behavior in prosimians may be associated with intrinsic factors (i.e., individual or genus differences) in addition to extrinsic factors related to housing. This knowledge may be helpful in identifying the causes of and effective treatments for stereotypic behavior in prosimians. Am. J. Primatol. 65:181–196, 2005. © 2005 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.



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