1993; Pennycuik 1967). These effects can be multigenerational (Barnett 1965, 1973).

The dry-bulb temperatures listed in Table 3.1 are broad and generally reflect tolerable limits for common adult laboratory animal species, provided they are housed with adequate resources for behavioral thermoregulation; temperatures should normally be selected and maintained with minimal fluctuation near the middle of these ranges. Depending on the specific housing system employed, the selection of appropriate macro- and microenvironmental temperatures will differ based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the species or strain, age, numbers of animals in the enclosure, size and construction of the primary enclosure, and husbandry conditions (e.g., use/provision of contact bedding, nesting material and/or shelter, individually ventilated cages). Poikilotherms and young birds of some species generally require a thermal gradient in their primary enclosure to meet basic physiological processes. The temperature ranges shown may not apply to captive wild animals, wild animals maintained in their natural environment, or animals in outdoor enclosures that have the opportunity to adapt by being exposed to seasonal changes in ambient conditions.

Some conditions require increased environmental temperatures for housing (e.g., postoperative recovery, neonatal animals, rodents with hairless phenotypes, reptiles and amphibians at certain stages of reproduction). The magnitude of the temperature increase depends on housing details; sometimes raising the temperature in the microenvironment alone (e.g., by using heating pads for postoperative recovery or radiant heat sources for reptiles) rather than raising the temperature of the macroenvironment is sufficient and preferable.

Relative humidity should also be controlled, but not nearly as narrowly as temperature for many mammals; the acceptable range of relative humidity is considered to be 30% to 70% for most mammalian species. Micro-

TABLE 3.1 Recommended Dry-Bulb Macroenvironmental Temperatures for Common Laboratory Animals


Dry-Bulb Temperature



Mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea piga






Cat, dog, nonhuman primate



Farm animals, poultry



aDry-bulb room temperature settings for rodents are typically set below the animals’ LCT to avoid heat stress, and should reflect different species-specific LCT values. Animals should be provided with adequate resources for thermoregulation (nesting material, shelter) to avoid cold stress.

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