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Fresh insights into guinea pig social behaviour
They found that females tended to flee from each other during fertile periods, but otherwise would risk confrontation.

Females risk confrontation outside of fertile periods 

New research has shed light on how a female guinea pig’s sexual cycle could impact their social behaviour.

Guinea pigs use their intuition to decide whether to compete or escape, in order to maintain a hierarchy in which dominant animals take advantage.

Researchers from the University of Vienna analysed social behaviours and hormone levels to find out the effect of the oestrus cycle during encounters between females.

They found that females tended to flee from each other during fertile periods, but otherwise would risk confrontation. In animals that were not ready to mate, the stress hormone level increased and physical contact between the two females was more frequent.

There has so far been limited research on how the sexual cycle may shape female social behaviour in animals.

Lead author Lisa-Maria Glenk, commented: “These rodents live in social hierarchies, similar to many other mammals. Such hierarchies are established through confrontations between conspecifics.

"Animals with a good intuition of when to compete or withdraw are more successful and better integrated.”

Photo © Lisa Glenk/Vetmeduni Vienna

 

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”