Behavioural and nociceptive response in male and female spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus) upon exposure to snake odour

C. Carere, R. Casetti, L. De Acetis, G. Perretta, F. Cirulli, E. Alleva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Predator cues (both mammalian odour or avian vocalizations) are known to elicit fear-associated responses in rodents, including analgesia. In previous studies it was reported that spiny mice fail to show fear responses when presented with the calls of an owl. In order to test the hypothesis that this species (living in semiarid and rocky areas) may react to stimuli coming from reptilian predators, 40 sexually mature spiny mice (20 males, 20 females) were individually exposed to a small cylinder containing either fresh sawdust or snake odour. Behavioural changes (5 min before and 15 min after odour exposure) as well as the subsequent performance in a hot-plate test (50±0.5°C) were assessed. Results indicate that exposure to the odour of a sympatric terrestrial predator affected both behavioural and physiological responses of spiny mice. Upon exposure to snake odour both sexes showed significant changes in the patterns of inactivity, sniffing, grooming, sniffing the stimulus object (SO), withdraw reaction and in the frequency of somersaults. However, males increased the frequency of rearing, sniffing the SO, decreasing grooming more than females. No analgesic effect of odour exposure emerged; however, males showed significantly shorter latencies and higher frequencies of hindpaw licking compared to females. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 1999


  • Analgesia
  • Fear
  • Predator stimulus
  • Risk assessment
  • Sex differences
  • Spiny mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Behavioural and nociceptive response in male and female spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus) upon exposure to snake odour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this