Physical environmental effects on infant care and development in captive Callithrix jacchus



Ventura R & Buchanan-Smith HM (2003) Physical environmental effects on infant care and development in captive Callithrix jacchus. International Journal of Primatology, 24 (2), pp. 399-413.

Environmental enrichment may affect infant care and development in captive primates. We investigated the effects of this factor in laboratory common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). An enriched physical environment enhanced the social activities of the marmosets and elicited a greater repertoire of behaviors, without negatively affecting the provision of infant care. In addition, infants in enriched cages displayed certain behaviors sooner than infants in non-enriched cages did, which suggests an increased developmental rate. Infants in enriched cages also ate more solid food and engaged in solitary play and exploration more than ones in non-enriched cages did. Play and exploration probably improve spatial cognition and motor skills, which, together with a higher degree of independence, may allow infants to cope better with laboratory routines and general social interactions later in life than their counterparts reared in less complex enclosures. We conclude that laboratories can significantly increase the welfare of marmosets by providing a more complex physical environment.

environmental enrichment; infant care; infant development; common marmosets

International Journal of Primatology: Volume 24, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2003
Publication date online01/04/2003
PublisherPlenum Publishing Corporation

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Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith
Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor, Psychology