Social Preferences of Developing Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) from the Preweaning to the Periadolescent Period

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Preference tests in a novel environment (Experiment 1) and unobtrusive observations in a specialized living environment (Experiment 2) examined the attractiveness of various classes of conspecifics for maturing guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). It was found that (a) the young continued to remain near the mother well beyond weaning; (b) there was increased time spent with unrelated adult females, but not males, after weaning; (c) male and female offspring behaved similarly; and (d) littermates spent considerable time with each other. These results provide no evidence that guinea pigs approaching sexual maturity begin to associate preferentially with novel animals or potential breeding partners. Choices were largely predictable from earlier findings of the ability of various classes of conspecifics to reduce hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity of the young.



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