McCrossin, F. G. 2014. The effect of pair housing on the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). American Journal of Primatology 76(S1), 54. (37th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #52)

Aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) are thought to be solitary animals and are often housed alone in captivity. However, for all primates sociality is known to play a major role in psychological well-being. Captive animals can develop psychological issues related to conditions of housing. To determine whether being housed alone or in pairs is better for aye-ayes, observations on 14 aye-ayes were collected from 2012 to 2014 at the Duke Lemur Center. Each observation period lasted from 30-60 minutes and each individual was observed for an average of 6 periods. Two separate groups of aye-ayes were observed, those housed alone, and those that are pair-housed. Some aye-ayes fell into both categories during the duration of this study and their behavior while pair-housed was compared to their own behavior while solitary, as well as being factored in to the average activity pattern of either group. The activity patterns of pair-housed and solitary aye-ayes were compared using a chi-square test and it was determined that aye-ayes exhibit different behavioral patterns when they are pair-housed than while alone with p < 0.001. The results of this study show that behavior indicative of psychological issues, pacing, was significantly reduced in pair-housed individuals and that pair-housed individuals were more active than solitary ones. This has important implications for aye-aye husbandry and suggests that aye-ayes may be more social than is often assumed.

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