Anderson-Mondella, C. J., Maines, T. R., Tansey, C. M. et al. 2023. Meeting ferret enrichment needs in infectious disease laboratory settings. JAALAS 62(6), 518–524.

Environmental enrichment is a necessary component of all research vivarium settings. However, appropriate enrichment decisions vary greatly depending on the species involved and the research use of the animals. The increasing use of ferrets in research settings—notably for modeling the pathogenicity and transmissibility of viral pathogens that require containment in ABSL-2 to -4 environments—presents a particular challenge for veterinary and research staff to ensure that enrichment needs for these animals are met consistently. Here, we discuss the species-specific enrichment needs of ferrets, enrichment considerations for ferrets housed in research settings, and the challenges and importance of providing appropriate enrichment during experimentation, including when ferrets are housed in high-containment facilities. This article is organized to support the easy availability of information that will facilitate the design and implementation of optimal environmental enrichment for ferrets used in diverse research efforts in vivarium settings.

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