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Adrenal activity and anxiety-like behavior in fur-chewing chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera)




  • Ponzio, Marina F., Monfort, Steven L., Busso, Juan Manuel, Carlini, Valeria P., Ruiz, Rubén D. and de Cuneo, Marta Fiol


  • Due to its complexity, in combination with a lack of scientific reports, fur-chewing became one of the most challenging behavioral problems common to captive chinchillas. In the last years, the hypothesis that fur-chewing is an abnormal repetitive behavior and that stress plays a role in its development and performance has arisen. Here, we investigated whether a relationship existed between the expression and intensity of fur-chewing behavior, elevated urinary cortisol excretion and anxiety-related behaviors. Specifically, we evaluated the following parameters in behaviorally normal and fur-chewing animals of both sexes: 1) mean concentrations of urinary cortisol metabolites and 2) anxiety-like behavior in an elevated plus-maze test. Urinary cortisol metabolites were higher only in females that expressed the most severe form of the fur-chewing behavior (P ≤ 0.05). Likewise, only fur-chewing females exhibited increased (P ≤ 0.05) anxiety-like behaviors associated with the elevated plus-maze test. Overall, these data provided additional evidence to support the concept that fur-chewing is a manifestation of physiological stress in chinchilla, and that a female sex bias exists in the development of this abnormal behavior.

Published In

Publication Date

  • 2012



Digital Object Identifier (doi)

Additional Document Info

Start Page

  • 758

End Page

  • 762


  • 61


  • 5