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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
animal may be required, while larger groups may be housed at slightly higher densities.
Studies have recently evaluated space needs and the effects of social housing, group size, and density (Andrade and Guimaraes 2003; Bartolomucci et al. 2002, 2003; Georgsson et al. 2001; Gonder and Laber 2007; Perez et al. 1997; A.L. Smith et al. 2004), age (Arakawa 2005; Davidson et al. 2007; Yildiz et al. 2007), and housing conditions (Gordon et al. 1998; Van Loo et al. 2004) for many different species and strains of rodents, and have reported varying effects on behavior (such as aggression) and experimental outcomes (Karolewicz and Paul 2001; Laber et al. 2008; McGlone et al. 2001; Rock et al. 1997; Smith et al. 2005; Van Loo et al. 2001). However, it is difficult to compare these studies due to the study design and experimental variables that have been measured. For example, variables that may affect the animals’ response to different cage sizes and housing densities include, but are not limited to, species, strain (and social behavior of the strain), phenotype, age, gender, quality of the space (e.g., vertical access), and structures placed in the cage. These issues remain complex and should be carefully considered when housing rodents.
Other Common Laboratory Animals Tables 3.3 and 3.4 list recommended minimum space for other common laboratory animals and for avian species. These allocations are based, in general, on the needs of pair- or group-housed animals. Space allocations should be reevaluated to provide for enrichment or to accommodate animals that exceed the weights in the tables, and should be based on species characteristics, behavior, compatibility of the animals, number of animals, and goals of the housing situation (Held et al. 1995; Lupo et al. 2000; Raje 1997; Turner et al. 1997). Singly housed animals may require more space per animal than that recommended for group-housed animals, while larger groups may be housed at slightly higher densities. For cats, dogs, and some rabbits, housing enclosures that allow greater freedom of movement and less restricted vertical space are preferred (e.g., kennels, runs, or pens instead of cages). Dogs and cats, especially when housed individually or in smaller enclosures (Bayne 2002), should be allowed to exercise and provided with positive human interaction. Species-specific plans for housing and management should be developed. Such plans should also include strategies for environmental enrichment.
Nonhuman Primates The recommended minimum space for nonhuman primates detailed in Table 3.5 is based on the needs of pair- or group-housed animals. Like all social animals, nonhuman primates should normally have social housing (i.e., in compatible pairs or in larger groups of compatible animals) (Hotchkiss and Paule 2003; NRC 1998a; Weed and Watson 1998;