Cooccurrence of Yawning and Stereotypic Behaviour in Horses (Equus caballus)

Carole Fureix, Aleksandra Gorecka-Bruzda, Emmanuel Gautier, Martine Hausberger

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Determinants of yawning are still uncertain. As yawning seems to be triggered by stress and emotional contexts, we investigated specific correlates of yawning and stereotypic behaviours in horses. Study 1 investigated correlations in time between yawning and stereotypic behaviour in stereotypic horses from the same facility; study 2, involving riding school horses, investigated the cooccurrence of yawning and stereotypic behaviour at the individual level and in response to environmental factors (feeding time). Results showed that (1) stereotypic horses yawned more than the nonstereotypic horses, (2) yawning increased at the same time periods as stereotypic behaviours did, and (3) yawning frequency was positively correlated with stereotypic behaviour frequencies (study1). Different hypotheses are discussed: direct/indirect causal relationship and other factors susceptible to trigger both yawning and stereotypies. This study, underlining for the first time a cooccurrence of yawning and stereotypic behaviour, opens a promising line of investigation of this puzzling behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number271209
Pages (from-to)10
JournalISRN Zoology
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2011


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