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J Comp Psychol. 2000 Dec;114(4):401-7.

Steroidal modulation of scent investigation and marking behaviors in male and female ferrets (Mustela putorius furo).

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  • 1Department of Biology, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Gonadectomized male and female ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) given either testosterone propionate (TP) or oil vehicle preferred to investigate the side of a test cage previously soiled by a breeding male or female as opposed to a clean side. Male and female ferrets receiving TP showed more urogenital wiping than oil-treated animals in either side of the test cage. In a 2nd experiment, ferrets treated sequentially with TP, oil, and estradiol benzoate (EB) were given simultaneous access to sides of a test cage previously soiled by either a breeding female or male. Either EB or TP treatment of females and TP treatment of males facilitated the investigation of odors of opposite-sex ferrets. Females given TP and males given either TP or EB showed increased urogenital wiping in both sides of the test cage. Sex steroids modulate scent investigation and marking in adult ferrets in a sexually differentiated fashion.

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