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J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2014;17(3):274-81. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2014.917556.

Enriching tortoises: assessing color preference.

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a Conservation, Ecology, and Animal Behavior Group, Zoology Post Graduation Program, Biological Sciences Department , PontifĂ­cal Catholic University of Minas Gerais , Belo Horizonte , Minas Gerais , Brazil.


Environmental enrichment is a principle that is used to enhance the quality of care for nonhuman animals in captivity. To achieve this, it is necessary to understand the animal's needs. This study focused on color preference to provide food stimuli as a source of environmental enrichment for the tortoise, Chelonoidis denticulata. During this study, the stimuli green-, blue-, yellow-, and red-colored bananas and plaster blocks were randomly offered to the tortoises. Analysis of the data showed that the tortoises had a preference for the stimuli dyed with colors red and yellow over the other presented colors. It was possible to conclude that presenting food in different colors stimulated the animals to evaluate their environment and make choices in relation to their color preference. Thus, this experiment introduced an element of choice into their lives, beyond identifying color food preferences for the tortoises. The element of choice is known to be important to animal welfare.


captive animals; color preference; environmental enrichment; reptile; tortoise

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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