202 – Tickling: A New Handling Technique for Rats
Thursday, June 8
12:30pm – 4:30pm
Handling of laboratory rats, for both husbandry and experimental procedures, can be a source of stress for the animals. Aversive handling of animals can lead to a fearful relationship with humans and increase the risk of injury to both the handler and the animal. Recent studies have shown that “tickling”, a handling technique which mimics rat rough-and-tumble play behaviour, is effective at reducing fear of humans, is perceived by rats as positive interaction, improves the human-rat relationship and improves rat welfare. In order to effectively mimic the behavioural components of rat rough-and-tumble play, the handler must learn how to properly handle and interact with the rat. The goal of this workshop is to provide a detailed description of the “tickling” technique through live demonstration, and provide attendees with the opportunity to practice and develop their skills associated with rat handling.
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