Rodent Interactions

Topics: Aggression, Sibling, Family Pages: 6 (1526 words) Published: October 24, 2013
Rodent Interaction Lab

Introduction
In an experiment, adult female hamsters were exposed to both a conspecific male and a heterospecific male through wire-mesh barriers for 8 days, and then paired sequentially with the two males. It was found that female hamsters can learn during adulthood to avoid interspecific mating just by being exposed to stimuli from heterospecific males, (delBarco-Trillo et. al., 2010). This experiment gives a lot of information on the behavior of hamsters in terms of being in an environment with other hamsters.

In this experiment, the behavior between related and unrelated hamsters was seen rather than conspecific and heterospecific hamsters. This was done by placing a sibling hamster with its sibling and each sibling with a stranger hamster, and watching the behavior of the hamsters. This work was important because the experiment gives information about certain behaviors that get triggered by certain situations, and in this case, being in an environment with hamsters that are family versus hamsters who are strangers. The behaviors are seen when looking at the interactions, which in this experiment were either passive or aggressive. Passive interactions are behaviors like sniffing or touching in calmly matte, while aggressive behaviors are behaviors like fighting by scratching, pushing, or biting. All the hamsters used were in the species P. campelli. The siblings were around the same age while the stranger was an older hamster. Before the experiment, all three hamsters lived in their own territory apart from any other hamster. They were used to be alone and living independently.

The independent variable of this experiment was related or unrelated hamsters, while the dependent variable was the behavior that resulted. The question being answered by this experiment was, how does the relationship, unrelated or related, between hamsters, affect the behavior that results when they are placed in an environment together? The hypothesis was that if the hamsters are related, then the behavior between them when they are placed in an environment together would have more passive interactions than aggressive interactions.

Materials/Methods
There were three different hamsters. All three hamsters were in the same species, P. campbelli. Two of the hamsters were siblings while one was a stranger. The sister hamster was gold, the brother hamster was gray and the stranger hamster was brown. At the start of the experiment, all three hamsters were kept in three different territories. Their territories were very similar to each other.

First, a new territory was made that did not belong to any specific hamster. Bedding was applied along with a hamster wheel. Next, the gold, sister, and brown, stranger, hamster were put in the new area. The gold one was placed in first followed by the brown. They were placed in different parts of the area. The behavior between the unrelated hamsters, in terms of number of interactions and type of interactions (passive or aggressive) , were recorded for three minutes. After three minutes, the brown hamster, stranger, was taken out and placed back into its own territory. Then, the gray hamster, brother, was taken out from his territory and placed into the new area which his sister, gold, was already in. The gray, brother, hamster was placed in a different part of the area than the gold, sister, hamster was in. The behavior between the related hamsters, in terms of number of interactions and type of interactions (passive or aggressive) , were recorded for 45 seconds. After that, the gold, sister, hamster was taken out and placed back in its own territory. Next, the brown, stranger, hamster was taken back out of his territory and placed back into the new area in a place different than where the gray, brother, hamster was in. The behavior between the unrelated hamsters, in terms of number of interactions and type of interactions (passive or...
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