Developing a Metric of Usable Space for Zoo Exhibits

The size of animal exhibits has important effects on their lives and welfare. However, most references to exhibit size only consider floor space and height dimensions, without considering the space afforded by usable features within the exhibit. In this paper, we develop two possible methods for measuring the usable space of zoo exhibits and apply […]

Death at the Zoo: The Media, Science, and Reality

Media characterizations of zoo and aquarium animal deaths were randomly monitored on the internet for a 20-month period (September 2003–May 2005). Based on 148 samples collected, it was possible to classify articles into one of four categories, which were operationally defined: 1) dispassionate observers; 2) accusers; 3) sympathizers; and 4) balancers. In addition, with the […]

A Close Keeper–Nonhuman Animal Distance Does Not Reduce Undesirable Behavior in Contact Yard Goats and Sheep

This study investigated the relation between zookeeper-nonhuman animal distance and the undesirable behavior goats and sheep exhibited toward visitors of Zoo Atlanta’s contact yard. It hypothesized that a close distance between keeper and animal would be associated with a lower rate of undesirable behavior than would a distant keeper-animal distance. The study recorded rate of […]

Cage enrichment and mouse behaviour

Mice housed in standard cages show impaired brain development, abnormal repetitive behaviours (stereotypies) and an anxious behavioural profile, all of which can be lessened by making the cage environment more stimulating. But concerns have been raised that enriched housing might disrupt standardization and so affect the precision and reproducibility of behavioural-test results (for example, see […]

Sensory ecology: Introduction


Assessment of spontaneously occurring periodic limb movements in sleep in the rat

OBJECTIVE: Periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS) are often associated with the restless legs syndrome (RLS). Although the dopaminergic system seems to be involved, the pathophysiology of PLMS and RLS is still obscure. The objective of this study is to explore whether a PLMS-like phenomenon can be observed in rodents in order to elucidate the […]

Cognitive ethology, take three: Fascinating and frustrating questions about animal minds

Review of Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness by Donald R. Griffin

How an animal’s behavioural repertoire changes in response to a changing environment: a stochastic model

We describe a stochastic model that simulates how the behavioural repertoires of animals living in complex and stochastic environments change in response to the changing environment. The model incorporates concepts derived from research in three main areas: (a) cognitive models of the environment, (b) the information-primacy hypothesis, and (c) approach/avoidance behaviours to novel and unfamiliar […]

The link between metabolic rate and body temperature in galliform birds in thermoneutral and heat exposure conditions: The classical and phylogenetically corrected approach

Three galliform species (grey partridges, ring-necked pheasants, and king quail) were involved in body temperature and resting metabolic rate measurements over a broad range of ambient temperatures (20-45 degrees C). At thermoneutrality, inter-species differences in colonic temperature, as well as in metabolic rate, were observed. During heat exposure, all species reacted by elevating their body […]

The sciences of animal welfare