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Publication type: Diploma Thesis

Year: 2011

Author(s): Busen, Simone

Title: Beobachtungen zur Caecotrophie bzw. Koprophagie bei Meerschweinchen, Ratte und Gerbil.

Other title: Observations on caecotrophy or coprophagy in guinea pigs, rats and gerbils

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 30.


Iben Christine

Bubna-Littitz Hermann

Vetmed Research Units:
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds

Graduation date: 13.07.11

Within the scope of this work the behavior of guinea pigs, rats and gerbils was investigated in relation to coprophagia. The aim was to explore whether these animals produce cecal feces and pick it up again or wheather they operate coprophagy and feed their normal feces. For this purpose, two animals of each species with and without cervical collar were observed in litter-free cages over a period of 14 - 21 days to determine whether they receive there feces directly from the anus or from the cage floor. The collected feces were investigated in the laboratory on dry matter, crude ash and crude protein to demonstrate the differences of the types of feces. Only in the guinea pigs movements could be observed in periods of rest, suggesting that the animals take their feces directly from the anus, chew it and than swallow. If the direct taking up was prevented, it was observed that the guinea pigs differentiate between fresh droppings at the cage floor and feces which was collected directly from the anus, if both droppings were offered side by side. Based on the laboratory results there is no significant difference between the normal feces from the cage floor and the excrement which was collected from the anus of the animals. Therefore in the guinea pigs there is no formation of two different types of feces, but only coprophagy. The rats have shown no interests in their feces during the entire period of testing. Therefore, it is neither coprophagy, nor caecotrophy. One of the gerbil took his dropped feces once again, but only once during the observation time. Visually there was no difference between this and the other droppings. Here it is assumed that coprophagy is done very rarely.

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