Allo-grooming - Normal
Overview and Meaning
Normal allo-grooming is an affiliative interaction that strengthens social bonds among cagemates and assists the animal in obtaining information for about sources.
Normal allo-grooming is a more casual, less intense form of grooming between two mice. In this interaction, an actor mouse frequently uses its forepaws for stability when grooming the recipient. During grooming, the actor mouths and licks the fur on the recipient's body. The actor will also use its teeth to clean the hair shaft by pulling the fur from the base of the hair shaft upward or outward.
Normal allo-grooming can be distinguished from other grooming behaviors as follows:
- Grooming is an important part of maintenance behavior. Individual grooming follows a specific and thorough sequence, with little variation. In comparison, social grooming is not a thorough whole body cleaning; rather, it is a thorough cleaning that is localized in specific areas of a recipient's body: body trunk, shoulder region and back of head. These also happen to be the areas that are more difficult for an individual mouse to clean by itself.
- The easiest way to differentiate between normal and vigorous allo-grooming is by looking at the recipient's behavior. In normal allo-grooming, the recipient will usually be preoccupied with something else in the cage and may even move around while being groomed. However, during vigorous allo-grooming, a recipient will remain rigid and usually motionless.
Affiliative behaviors are social interactions that function to reinforce social bonds with a group or which are of mutual benefit to all animals involved in the interaction.