Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Aggression and self-directed behaviour of captive lemurs (Lemur catta, Varecia variegata, V. rubra and Eulemur coronatus) is reduced by feeding fruit-free diets

Published source details

Britt S, Cowlard K & Plowman A (2015) Aggression and self-directed behaviour of captive lemurs (Lemur catta, Varecia variegata, V. rubra and Eulemur coronatus) is reduced by feeding fruit-free diets. , 3, 52-58


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Primates: Formulate diet to reflect nutritional composition of wild foods (including removal of domestic fruits) Management of Captive Animals

A replicated, before-and-after, site comparison study in 2012-2013 in Cornwall and Devon, UK (Britt et al. 2015) found that when fed a domestic fruit free diet, aggression and self-directed behaviour in four species of lemurs, were significantly lower. Self-directed behaviour reduced from an average rate of 0.28 times/minute when fed fruit to 0.1 times/minute when no fruit was provided. Aggression reduced from an average of 1% of time when fed fruit to 0.1% of time when no fruit was provided. There was no significant effect of diet on foraging and auto grooming. Four species of lemur (17 individuals Varecia variegata, Varecia rubra, Lemur catta, Eulemur coronatus) were observed for 35 days at 15 sessions of 20 minutes at Paignton Zoo, during May–July 2012, and 30 sessions of 20 minutes at Newquay Zoo, during May–July 2013. The transition to a vegetable and leaf-eater pellet diet, which excluded fruit, was implemented over the course of a week. Observations were carried out before and after the diet change.    (CJ)