Environmental Enrichment

Guinea Pig hiding in a PVC
        tube for enrichmentrabbit with baby rattle

As written in the "The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals", consideration for suitable enrichment and social interaction with conspecifics should be considered when planning adequate housing for all species. A team of technicians at the Freimann Life Science Center at the University of Notre Dame has spent many years developing an ongoing environmental enrichment program for the diverse animal population housed there. An enrichment committee consisting of several volunteer technicians was formed to evaluate the program and implement new ideas. The staff has taken an interest in all species housed, from rabbits to invertebrates. Rabbits, both singly housed and group housed, are supplied with baby rattles and toys. For rodents, opportunities for burrowing and gnawing are provided by placing paper and PVC tubes, Nylabones, autoclavable plastic pipette boxes, and wooden blocks in their cages. Starter chick feed is spread onto artificial grass in the chick brooders, while perches are supplied for laying hens. Hiding places are provided in the amphibian tanks by including artificial vegetation and plastic huts. The salt water tank of various types of crabs is equipped with tubes and perches to allow for hiding and escape. Our mission to encourage natural species-typical behaviors has been achieved as evidenced by the gnawing of enrichment devices by rodents, foraging behavior by multiple species, and the social interactions of huddling and nose to nose contact by guinea pigs. Although there are no regulations that require environmental enrichment for these species, our staff recognizes that there are no barriers as to which species will benefit from an enriched environment. The committee is dedicated to providing an overall, long-term enrichment program that encompasses all species.

Group housed rabbits with
          environmental enrichmentMouse enrichment with
          cardboard tube, PVC swiss-cheese tubeBullfrogs with
          frog perch covered with artificial turf

Please continue to save pipette boxes and cardboard tubes from toilet tissue and paper towels.  As our mouse breeding colonies expand, so does our use of cardboard tubes.  A drop-off container is in the FLSC entryway.  All donations are appreciated!  Thanks for your help.

mouse enrichment-
          photo by:gruop housing- photo by:

Freimann Life Science Center can be contacted at :
e-mail: ndflsc.ndflsc.1@nd.edu
phone:  574-631-6085
FAX : 574-631-4519
Last Updated 4/1/11

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