Taught by animals: How understanding diet selection leads to better zoo diets

B. D. Moore, K. J. Marsh, I. R. Wallis, W. J. Foley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Wild animals invariably obtain their nutrient requirements, regulate their ingestion of toxins and even self-medicate. This review suggests that, while size and morphology dictate gross diet, the ability to select a diet is learnt. Animals learn to distinguish nutritious foods from less beneficial or toxic items through the positive and negative consequences of ingestion. In this process, early life experiences appear to be critically important. Zoo animals can rarely be provided with their wild diets and caretakers substitute nutrients from other sources. Thus, a suitable range of ingredients should be provided to give the animals a stimulating and nutritious diet that ensures excellent health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-61
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Zoo Yearbook
    Volume39
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

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