This study compared the efficacy of plastic glitter, with a mean particulate size of 1.18 mm, as a faecal marker in group-housed captive wombats Lasiorhinus latifrons. The wombats voluntarily consumed the glitter through the use of appetizing food vehicles. Over 40 different food treats were tested as possible vehicles for the oral delivery of the faecal marker and of these six were deemed highly palatable: (1) golden syrup with horse pellets, (2) golden syrup with weetbix, (3) pitted dates, (4) honey with kangaroo pellets, (5) nutrigel with rolled-oats, and (6) strawberry sauce with rolled-oats. Mean transit time of glitter particulates through the alimentary tract of L latifrons was 2.9 ± 0.5 d, with maximal output occurring 4.2 ± 0.3 d after administration. A marker dose of 1.6 g / 3 d was required to reach a steady and detectable state of marker output. Using this dosage > 2 particulates (i.e. flecks) of glitter were defaecated in > 90% of faecal pellets, allowing the accurate identification of individual samples. Reliable labeling was obtained using gold, silver, metallic red, metallic green, metallic blue and white glitter, i.e. digestion did not affect the integrity of these colours. There was no evidence that long-term feeding of glitter had any negative effects on the normal formation of faecal pellets, the clinical health, weight or appetite of the wombats.
Technique for faecal marking in group-housed southern hairy-nosed wombats Lasiorhinus latifrons
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L. Hogan, C. Phillips, A. Horsup, T. Janssen, S. Johnston; Technique for faecal marking in group-housed southern hairy-nosed wombats Lasiorhinus latifrons. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2011; 35 (3): 649–654. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2011.017
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