Some determinants of a natural food aversion in Norway rats

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Adult male Long-Evans rats were permitted to feed on the carcasses of adult male rodents, freshly sacrificed by CO-sub-2 asphyxiation. In a 2-choice preference test (Exp I), hungry Ss were offered 1 conspecific and 1 house mouse, the pair of carcasses being either intact or skinned. 18 Ss offered intact carcasses fed on the mouse or on neither carcass, but 18 Ss offered skinned carcasses fed indiscriminately, usually on both carcasses. In Exp II, 10 hungry Ss that earlier had observed a cagemate feeding on intact conspecific carcasses fed more readily on a similar carcass during a single-choice test than did 8 controls. In Exp II, 20 food-deprived Ss (96 hrs) fed more readily and consumed more tissue from an intact conspecific carcass than did 20 nondeprived Ss. It is concluded that the aversion to feeding on the intact carcass of a freshly sacrificed adult conspecific is deprivation dependent and is mediated by chemoreceptive stimuli from the skin and/or fur. The aversion is diminished by social facilitation. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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