Mr. Frank Logiudice


Lurch is a Coragyps atratus who was raised in captivity and imprinted on humans. He was an education animal at the Silver Springs Zoo until its closure. Lurch was moved to the Central Florida Zoo and has been feather picking and self-mutilating since then. Self-injury is not well documented in raptors and few treatments have been explored. It is often caused by stress of some sort and is not seen in the wild. These observations were conducted in order to observe the environmental factors that influenced these behaviors in Lurch. In an attempt to curb his feather picking, Lurch was introduced to a Polyborus plancus, and he attacked her. They were separated but housed next to each other. He has been showing signs of aggression towards her thereafter. Lurch was observed in 2019 from January 12 to April 11 in two-hour intervals. Lurch showed no significant change in feather picking with P. plancus present. P. plancus was moved to a different enclosure on January 29th. There was no significant change in self-injury when courting behaviors were observed on February 14th, 24th, 26th, and March 7th, and no significant change in self-injury with interaction with current enrichment items. There was a significant inverse correlation between keeper presence and self-injury. A blocking vest was introduced on March 24th; a significant decrease in self-injury was observed while wearing the vest. Further testing is needed to determine the reason for the correlation and confirm the decrease due to the blocking vest.

About the Author

Brittany Swartout graduated from the University of Central Florida and has been working as a veterinary technician at a mixed-practice clinic since 2017. She was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, and moved to Lake Mary, Florida at the age of 6. Brittany started her degree at UCF after the completion of her A.A. in 2016. After graduation, she plans on furthering her education and continuing research in animal behavior.


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