By Patrick Sharp; Marie LaRegina

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The objects which provide environmental enrichment are usually an extension of the rat’s normal behavior — gnawing and burrowing. Although some of the following devices may provide environmental enrichment, there may be limitations on their use due to an object’s ability to undergo sterilization, or a study’s objectives (nutrition or toxicology studies): • wood blocks • stainless steel nuts • nest boxes or nesting material • colored marbles • shredded paper • plastic piping • social housing • plastic bones nutrition The nutrient requirements of the rat varies with this omnivore’s life cycle, research requirements, environment, microbiological status, and genetics.

Vitamins One may classify vitamins as either fat-soluble or watersoluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, K. The watersoluble vitamins are B6, B12, biotin, choline, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin. potentially beneficial dietary constituents The latest NRC dietary recommendations do not have requirements for potentially beneficial dietary constituents; however, animals on natural ingredient diets appear to respond better to stressors than those animals on more purified diets.

Nonauditory changes include stress, metabolic alterations, and reduced fertility. Specific responses include increases in adrenal weights and total leukocyte counts and decreases in numbers of eosinophils (eosinopenia) and food intake. Individual behavioral differences correlate with corticosteroid elevations. ) should be minimized. Voipio has published on the reaction of rats to specific sounds, including rat screams. Megaenvironment The megaenvironment provides quality facilities where research may be performed.

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