Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bored mink snack between meals, lie awake in bed; Enriching surroundings reduces signs of boredom in caged mink

Date:
November 14, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
How can you tell when an animal is bored? Researchers have found that mink housed in boring conditions consume more food treats between meals, and lie awake for a large portion of the day compared to mink that live in interesting environments. The study quantifies, for the first time, signs of boredom in an animal.

Mink are less active when they lack external stimuli.
Credit: Rebecca Meagher

How can you tell when an animal is bored? Researchers have found that mink housed in boring conditions consume more food treats between meals, and lie awake for a large portion of the day compared to mink that live in interesting environments. The study, published November 14 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Rebecca Meagher and colleagues from the University of Guelph, Canada, quantifies, for the first time, signs of boredom in an animal.

Related Articles


Exposing mink to a variety of stimuli including puffs of air, objects to chase, and candles, the researchers found that animals housed in homes enriched with other stimuli such as water to wade in consumed fewer food treats when not hungry, and did not lie awake without sleeping as much as animals housed without these stimuli.

Although providing caged animals with sufficiently stimulating environments is considered critical for their well-being, defining what may be considered adequate stimulation has been a challenge. Inactive or sluggish animals are often called bored or depressed, but these terms are yet to be clearly defined for non-human subjects.

The authors of this study suggest that their results are a first step towards defining boredom in caged mink. According to the study, "Such means of defining boredom for non-human animals are very much needed, since reducing boredom is often stated as an aim of enrichment, and yet to date we have had no means of judging success at achieving this goal."

Lead author Meagher adds "Many people believe that farm and zoo animals in empty enclosures get bored, but since the animals can't tell us how they feel, we can only judge this from seeing how motivated they are for stimulation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebecca K. Meagher, Georgia J. Mason. Environmental Enrichment Reduces Signs of Boredom in Caged Mink. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e49180 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049180

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Bored mink snack between meals, lie awake in bed; Enriching surroundings reduces signs of boredom in caged mink." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114172829.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, November 14). Bored mink snack between meals, lie awake in bed; Enriching surroundings reduces signs of boredom in caged mink. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114172829.htm
Public Library of Science. "Bored mink snack between meals, lie awake in bed; Enriching surroundings reduces signs of boredom in caged mink." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114172829.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Captive Animals Show Signs of Boredom, Study Finds

Nov. 14, 2012 Wondering if your caged hamster gets bored? It's highly likely if the critter has nothing to do all day. Those are the findings of researchers in the first study to empirically demonstrate ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins