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.