Socially acquired information reduces Norway rats' latencies to find food Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Experiments have demonstrated that socially acquired information influences both where Norway rats, Rattus norvegicuslook for food and what foods they eat. The present studies were undertaken to determine whether rats could also use information acquired from conspecifics to determine when food had become available. Naive rats introduced either into colonies that had been trained to come to a feeding site when food was made available there or into colonies lacking such training. The former naive animals began to feed on introduced food with significantly shorter latencies than did the latter. Naive rats tended to leave a shelter they shared with others and travel to a feeding site after interacting at the shelter with a returning successful forager, but not after interacting there with a returning unsuccessful forager. Furthermore, naive rats that had been trained to eat a food, but not naive rats trained to avoid eating the same food, left shelter and went to a feeding site after interacting in the shelter with a returning forager that had eaten the food that naive rats had been trained either to eat or to avoid. All results were consistent with the view that naive colony members could learn that food had become available at a familiar feeding site by interacting with colony members that had recently eaten there.1997The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

publication date

  • September 1997