Attack and defensive behaviour in the albino rat.
Attack of dominant colony males of an albino rat (Rattus norvegicus) strain, on introduced strangers, produced a non-random distribution of bites, with ventral trunk virtually never bitten. Also, vibrissae-contact of attacker and defender interfered with bites to the defender's head and upper back. The specific agonistic reactions of attacking and defending rats appeared to involve strategies based on these limitation on attack: defenders utilized 'boxing' and lying 'on-the-back' behaviour, which interposed ventral trunk and vibrissae between attacker and defender. In turn, the 'lateral display' permitted attackers to circumvent the defender's behaviour. Limitations on attack therefore appeared to underlie the specific agonistic behaviour of both attacking and defending rats.
Blanchard, RJ; Blanchard, DC; Takahashi, T; Kelley, MJ
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