Rabbits are common pets in many European countries, including Italy. However, little is known about their behavior and general welfare. The purpose of this study was to explore behaviors of Italian domestic rabbits as perceived by their owners and to investigate the effect of sex on these behaviors after puberty. A group of 308 adult does was compared with a group of 326 adult bucks. Owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire eliciting information on themselves, their rabbits, and whether the animals exhibited any of 16 common behaviors. Pearson χ2 test of independence in 2 × 2 contingency tables and binary logistic regressions were used to analyze the effects of sex on behavioral patterns while controlling for various owner- and rabbit-related variables. The odds of displaying owner-directed aggression and stranger-directed aggression were significantly greater for the does and neutered males than for the intact males. Bucks had a significantly higher likelihood of seeking contact with their owner. Our findings may provide insight into pet rabbit sex-related differences in behavior that may contribute to improving animal welfare and the rabbit companionship experience. These findings may have implications for future research aimed at studying behavioral disorders in pet rabbits.

Sex differences in human-directed social behavior in pet rabbits / D. D’Ovidio, L. Pierantoni, E. Noviello, F. Pirrone. - In: JOURNAL OF VETERINARY BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 1558-7878. - 15(2016 Sep), pp. 37-42. [10.1016/j.jveb.2016.08.072]

Sex differences in human-directed social behavior in pet rabbits

F. Pirrone
Ultimo
2016

Abstract

Rabbits are common pets in many European countries, including Italy. However, little is known about their behavior and general welfare. The purpose of this study was to explore behaviors of Italian domestic rabbits as perceived by their owners and to investigate the effect of sex on these behaviors after puberty. A group of 308 adult does was compared with a group of 326 adult bucks. Owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire eliciting information on themselves, their rabbits, and whether the animals exhibited any of 16 common behaviors. Pearson χ2 test of independence in 2 × 2 contingency tables and binary logistic regressions were used to analyze the effects of sex on behavioral patterns while controlling for various owner- and rabbit-related variables. The odds of displaying owner-directed aggression and stranger-directed aggression were significantly greater for the does and neutered males than for the intact males. Bucks had a significantly higher likelihood of seeking contact with their owner. Our findings may provide insight into pet rabbit sex-related differences in behavior that may contribute to improving animal welfare and the rabbit companionship experience. These findings may have implications for future research aimed at studying behavioral disorders in pet rabbits.
behavior; exotic companion mammals; pet rabbit; sex;
Settore VET/02 - Fisiologia Veterinaria
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/430085
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