Carnivores: Provide live invertebrate prey, including in feeding devices

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One replicated study in the USA found that provision of live prey increased explorative behaviours in fennec foxes compared to other types of enrichment.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A small replicated study in 1986 of fennec foxes Fennecus zerda in a zoo in the USA found that feeding live crickets increased explorative behaviours compared to meat being cut into smaller pieces, extra sand in the enclosure and less noise during cleaning. When fed live crickets, explorative behaviours increased (80 minutes/day) compared to the median of other conditions (40 minutes/day). Four fennec foxes housed in pairs were fed daily at 13:30 h on a commercial diet, fruit, eggs, fish bones and mealworms (only the two males’ data statistically analysed). Behaviours were assessed based on 24 hour video recordings during five to eight 10-day periods. The conditions included: 1) added sand, 2) provision of live crickets, 3) meat was cut into smaller pieces, and 4) no excessive noise made during cleaning. Behavioural categories included pacing, digging, exploring, burying food and resting/sleeping.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2020) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 527-553 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Management of Captive Animals

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Management of Captive Animals
Management of Captive Animals

Management of Captive Animals - Published 2018

Captive Animal Synopsis

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