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Browsing by Subject "sosiaalinen käyttäytyminen"

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  • Tornikoski, Taru (2023)
    Social behaviour can be divided into neutral, positive, and negative, depending on the social context. Positive social behaviour involves affiliative prosocial interactions that encourage social and emotional cohesion. Rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a globally distributed common rodent species adapted to living near humans. Rats are intelligent and social animals with reciprocal prosocial behaviour. However, research on the social behaviour of rats is concentrated in laboratory settings and very little is known about the social behaviour of free-living rats. Rats arouse strong prejudice in humans and are considered aggressive. Despite a long history of coexistence, there are still strong conflicts between humans and rats. In this study, I used camera trap data to investigate the types of social behaviour in free-living rats and the time allocation of different behaviours. I investigated how the rats' behaviour is divided into socially neutral or positive and negative behaviour in relation to the total time spent on the behaviour. I also investigated the types of social behaviour that occur when rats approach each other and the frequencies of these different behavioural models. For the behavioural analyses, I used data-driven ethograms that I made and the behavioural analysis software BORIS. I found that the majority (over 96.2 %) of the social behaviour of the free-living rats in my study population was neutral or positive behaviour as measured by the duration of the behaviour categories. I also found that the most significant proportion of social behavioural models in rats was socially neutral or positive. Agonistic behavioural models were rare and occurred mostly between adults. In contrast, rats exhibited a moderate amount of prosocial behaviour, particularly in the form of food sharing and muzzle touching. My study brings new information to the limited previous research on the behaviour of free-living rats. The results suggest that most of the social behaviour in free-living rats would be neutral or positive behaviour, and agonistic behaviour in rats would be relatively rare. To the best of my knowledge, this work is the first study to analyse the social behaviour of free-living rats from camera trap data. Objective research data on the social behaviour of rats may mitigate prejudice against rats and attitudes towards rats may become more positive. This can mitigate conflict between humans and rats and promote peaceful coexistence. This work can be used as a pilot for future studies. The information this work provides can also be used, for example, to educate people about their attitudes towards rats.