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Comparison of stress induced by manual restraint and immobilisation in the estuarine crocodile, crocodylus porosus

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Franklin, C.E., Davis, B.M., Peucker, S.K.J., Stephenson, H., Mayer, R. J., Whittier, J., Lever, J. and Grigg, G.C. (2003) Comparison of stress induced by manual restraint and immobilisation in the estuarine crocodile, crocodylus porosus. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology, 298A (2). pp. 86-92.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jez.a.10233

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home


This study compared the stress induced in captive estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylus porosus, by two different handling methods: manual restraint (noosing with ropes) and immobilization by electro-stunning. To stun, a short charge (approx. 6 s) at 110 V was delivered to the back of the necks of C. porosus using a custom-built device, which immobilized the animals for 5-10 min. Immobilized and restrained animals were measured and sexed, and the condition of the skin assessed. Blood samples were taken from some animals immediately after restraint or immobilization. Other animals were returned to their pens to recover for periods of 30 min, 1, 4, 12, 24 or 48 hours after which they were stunned and blood samples taken. Individual animals (mean body length 1.96 m, N=99) were bled only once. Haematocrit and haemoglobin concentrations were measured and plasma samples were analysed for corticosterone, glucose and lactate levels. Following restraint, there were significant increases in haematocrit, haemoglobin, glucose, lactate and corticosterone concentrations in C. porosus.

For restrained animals, recovery to baseline levels occurred after approximately 8 hours. The stress response of stunned animals was significantly reduced compared to manually captured and restrained crocodiles. Both groups showed a significant increase in haematocrit, haemoglobin concentration and lactate levels, however the magnitude of change was significantly reduced, and recovery was faster in stunned animals. No increase in either glucose or corticosterone levels occurred with immobilisation. The results imply that immobilization by electro-stunning is much less stressful.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:© Wiley-Liss Inc.
Keywords:Stress; captive estuarine crocodiles; Crocodylus porosus; handling methods; manual restraint immobilization; electro-stunning.
Subjects:Animal culture > Reptiles
Live Archive:28 Jan 2004
Last Modified:31 Jan 2023 01:47

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