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Stress in wild and captive snakes: quantification, effects and the importance of management

Authors
  • J. Van Waeyenberge
  • J. Aerts
  • T. Hellebuyck
  • F. Pasmans
  • A. Martel

Abstract

As in other animals, distress and impaired welfare have a deleterious effect on the mental, physical and behavioral health of snakes in the wild and in captivity. Besides anthropogenic disturbance, the availability of food and shelter, the presence of predators, and environmental factors, such as seasonality and climatological changes, are important factors that affect the stress level and subsequent welfare in wild snake populations. In captive snakes, inappropriate management is the most prominent cause of chronic stress and impaired welfare. Chronic stress can be assumed by looking at the snake’s behavior, but there is need for a standardized quantification method to pin-point more accurately (chronic) stress levels. The biomarker suitable in this framework is the level of corticosterone in plasma, feces and shed skin.

How to Cite:

Van Waeyenberge, J. & Aerts, J. & Hellebuyck, T. & Pasmans, F. & Martel, A., (2018) “Stress in wild and captive snakes: quantification, effects and the importance of management”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 87(2), 59-65. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/vdt.v87i2.16082

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Published on
29 Apr 2018
Peer Reviewed