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Science Wednesday, November 14th 2012 at 6:35 pm

Bored Animals Do What You Do When Bored, Pretty Much Lay In Bed Eating All Day

Researchers at the University of Guelph have finally decided to ask the burning question that is on everyone’s minds: “What do mink do when they get bored?” The answer may sound familiar — they lay in bed awake all day and eat too much. Throw in like half a dozen episodes of Arrested Development on Netflix and you have pretty much our average Saturday. Wanna make something of it?

The University of Guelph team studied the activity of mink left in cages without any activities to distract them were more likely to accept food treats when they weren’t hungry and generally less active, spending much of the day laying around, but not sleeping. These bad habits weren’t demonstrated by mink who were exposed to external stimuli — such as objects to chase, puffs of air, and candles — throughout the course of the day, though we do question the wisdom of leaving a mink with a candle to play with. These aren’t exceptionally smart critters, and that sounds like a recipe for burning something down.

The study, published online in the journal PLoS ONE today, claims to be the first to quantify the sensation of boredom in animals. While that may seem inconsequential, understanding animal stimulation is important for the health and well being of farm and zoo animals around the world. It could be especially pertinent for rare animals involved in captive breeding programs — after all, who wants to have sex with some slob who just lays around in his bed, snacking and watching TV all day?

The answer, in our not insignificant experience on the matter, is “very few people.”

(via )

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