Play behaviour in nonhuman animals and the animal welfare issue

The mission of defining animal welfare indicators is methodologically difficult, limited, and possibly impossible. A promising alternative, however, to evaluate suitable environmental conditions is the assessment of play behaviour. In the present review, we summarise the general aspects of play behaviour in nonhuman animals and propose its use as a potential indicator of animal welfare. […]

Abstraction, cruelty and other aspects of animal play (exemplified by the playfulness of Muki and Maluca)

Play behaviour is notorious for constituting a much debated, yet little clarified field of research. In this article, attempts are made to reach conclusions on the relation between human play and the play of other animals (especially cat play), as well as on the very character of play. The concept of Umwelt is reviewed, as […]

Equid play ethogram

An ethogram of play behavior among equids was developed. Several key English-language studies on equids were reviewed to derive a preliminary inventory of specific behaviors to be included in the ethogram. Our primary observations were based on a herd of semi-feral Shetland-type ponies kept at New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, […]

Juvenile farmed mink (Mustela vison) with additional access to swimming water play more frequently than animals housed with a cylinder and platform, but without swimming water

The opportunity to perform play behaviour may be an important ontogenic activity that stimulates behavioural variability and may enhance an individual’s coping capacity later in life. Play behaviour in juveniles may be enhanced by the presence of cage enrichments relevant to the animal’s motivations and natural behavioural repertoire. The present study aimed to investigate play […]

The effect of environmental enrichment on play behaviour in white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari)

Herds of white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) have historically been kept in captivity in order to replace stocks lost to hunting however the lack of knowledge regarding their species-typical behaviour remains an impediment to understanding their captive needs. Environmental enrichment has been suggested as an efficient way of decreasing aggression and apathy as well as increasing […]

Playful handling as social enrichment for individually- and group-housed laboratory rats

Social housing is recommended for laboratory rats because they are highly social mammals but research constraints or medical issues often demand individual housing and, when social housing is practiced, it typically involves housing with only one or two conspecifics. We hypothesized that playful social contact with humans (i.e. tickling), mimicking the dorsal contacts and pins […]

Playful handling of laboratory rats is more beneficial when applied before than after routine injections

The ability of positive affective states to counteract negative states engendered by routine medical procedures remains poorly studied. In laboratory rats, positive affect typically associated with rough-and-tumble play can be induced through human “hand play” – the experience of being “tickled” by a human in a manner mimicking the social interactions normally occurring during physical–social […]

Maternal exposure to environmental enrichment before and during gestation influences behaviour of rat offspring in a sex-specific manner

The beneficial effects of Environmental Enrichment (EE) applied immediately after weaning or even in adulthood have been widely demonstrated. Less is known about the possible changes in behaviour and brain development of the progeny following the exposure of dams to EE. In order to further investigate this matter, female rats were reared in EE for […]