A high intake of easily fermentable carbohydrates and a low intake of fiber material are generally regarded as major factors affecting the health of captive langurs. The effect on fecal consistency of excluding fruits and vegetables from the diet was evaluated in Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus auratus). Cross-over trials were carried out at Rotterdam Zoo and at the Apenheul Zoo, The Netherlands. During the first and third dietary period, the langurs were fed their usual diet, which contained fruits, vegetables, langur pellets, and browse. During the second period, the vegetables and fruits were excluded from the diet and the diet essentially consisted of pellets and browse. Feces consistency was scored using a fecal score chart developed for langurs. During the second feeding period the feces consistency improved significantly in animals at both zoos. Across all trials, a firmer feces consistency was correlated with an increase in dietary cell wall (measured as neutral detergent fiber) and a decrease in dietary water. It is suggested that the combined decrease in the intake of soluble sugars, the increase of fiber intake, and a lower amount of dietary water in the diet resulted in more solid stools. The results indicate that a dietary neutral detergent fiber content of approximately 46% in dry matter will result in a feces consistency indicative of undisturbed gut function.
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Vol. 37 • No. 3