Feeding regimen and growth comparison in two related African painted dog Lycaon pictus litters
Keywords:Canidae, carnivore, diet, husbandry, nutrition
There is a lack of published studies on feeding regimens and growth in zoological painted dog Lycaon pictus populations, and hence, a gap in understanding potential relationships between the two. Here we present a case study evaluating the influence of two feeding protocols (ad libitum and controlled feed) on morphometric measurements, litter, age, and the interaction between litter and age, of two related painted dog litters (i.e., same sire, sibling dams). Beginning at approximately 8 weeks of age, one litter was fed ad libitum (i.e., food freely available), and the other fed at regular time intervals (i.e., controlled). Ten physical measurements were obtained during 10 and 14-week pup wellness checks. Morphometric measurements between litters were comparable for body length, ear height, head circumference, and muzzle length at each age. Conversely, hind leg/body length ratios, front and hind leg/body length differentials, and mean body mass differed significantly between litters at each age. Although limited by a small sample size, the findings of our opportunistic study indicate that the relationships among feeding frequency, food items, and growth/development require further research, as altered morphometrics of captive animals to be released into the wild, or starvation conditions in free-ranging packs during critical growth periods, could have consequences for individuals and packs alike. More information relating to this topic is needed to improve husbandry practices for individuals in zoological collections, as well as inform management and conservation decisions affecting free-ranging populations.
How to Cite
JZAR fulfils the DOAJ definition of open access and provides free and open access to the full text of all content without delay under a Creative Commons licence. The copyright holder of JZAR publications grants usage rights to third parties, allowing for immediate free access to the work and permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles.