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Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2018
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A Review of Welfare Assessment Methods in Reptiles, and Preliminary Application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the Pygmy Blue-Tongue Skink, Tiliqua adelaidensis, Using Animal-Based Measures

1
School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
2
Zoos South Australia, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010027
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
Reptiles are commonly housed in wildlife parks and zoos, and are increasingly being kept as pets. Husbandry of reptiles is complex; signs of pain or disease can be challenging to recognize, and behavior is not always well understood. Therefore, assessment of reptile welfare may be difficult. In comparison to mammals, methods of welfare assessment in reptiles are under-investigated. In this paper we review the literature on welfare assessment techniques in reptiles. We determine that indicators of negative affective state are better characterized in reptiles, and are likely easier to apply in a welfare assessment tool. Indicators of positive affective state such as play behavior, and judgment bias experimental techniques, should be investigated further in reptiles. We also explore the application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the pygmy blue-tongue skink, an endangered species. This application presents examples of predominantly animal-based indicators that may be further investigated for use in a tool in this, and other reptile species.
Reptiles are held at wildlife parks and zoos for display and conservation breeding programs and are increasingly being kept as pets. Reliable indicators of welfare for reptiles need to be identified. Current guidelines for the captive management of reptiles utilize resource-based, rather than animal-based indicators; the latter being a more direct reflection of affective state. In this paper we review the literature on welfare assessment methods in reptiles with a focus on animal-based measures. We conclude that, whilst a number of physiological and behavioral indicators of welfare have been applied in reptiles, there is need for further validation of these methods across the diversity of species within the Class. Methods of positive welfare state assessment are comparatively understudied and need elucidation. Finally, we examine some widely-used welfare assessment tools in mammals and explore the application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the endangered pygmy blue-tongue skink, Tiliqua adelaidensis. We propose that this framework can form the basis for the development of taxon-specific tools with consideration of species-specific biology. View Full-Text
Keywords: reptiles; welfare; play; pygmy skink; assessment tool reptiles; welfare; play; pygmy skink; assessment tool
MDPI and ACS Style

Benn, A.L.; McLelland, D.J.; Whittaker, A.L. A Review of Welfare Assessment Methods in Reptiles, and Preliminary Application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the Pygmy Blue-Tongue Skink, Tiliqua adelaidensis, Using Animal-Based Measures. Animals 2019, 9, 27.

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