Select Page

Skelton, C. J., & Stannard, H. J. (2018). Preliminary investigation of social interactions and feeding behavior in captive group-housed Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus Harrisii). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-9.

As the number of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in captivity increases, an understanding of captive social dynamics and behavior is becoming increasingly important. In the wild, devils are solitary, although sometimes, they congregate to feed on a large carcass. However, it is common to house devils in groups as a form of social enrichment. This study investigated how behavior at feeding time of captive Tasmanian devils varied in groups of different sizes. Observations were made of individually housed devils and devils in groups of two, three, five, and six, when presented with a carcass on which to feed. Total feeding duration ranged from 6.5 to 47.4 minutes per observation period (70 minutes). There was no significant interaction between feeding duration and group size during the experiment. Feeding duration varied daily and depended on carcass size. Social housing of Tasmanian devils enabled them to display dyadic and agonistic behaviors during feeding. Observing behaviors and learning from the outcomes of these interactions can improve husbandry techniques. Creating a captive environment that encourages natural behaviors may enhance survival in the wild following translocation.

Note: To read JAAWS articles, you must either get a subscription to JAAWS, which ASI scholar members get a discount to, or you can access it through a university account, or by purchasing the individual article from the publisher. Per our agreement with the publisher, once the article is three years old we will be able to add it to our archive of journal articles that is available to Scholar, Student, and Professional members. These archives contain the entire body of articles (minus the past three years) for both of the journals we edit, Society & Animals and Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this website is copyright © 2018 The Animals and Society Institute. Please visit http://www.animalsandsociety.org/about-asi/website-reprint-and-use-policies to find out more about our reprint and use policies.

Share Us Online