Toys are objects or devices intended to be used by living things as psychological stimulation. They are especially important for animals that live in captivity, since they are often deprived of their natural sources of stimulation such as hunting and fighting. Playing with toys is a healthy way to fulfill an animal’s natural drive to perform activities and is a vital way to give the animal more enjoyment of its life. This need to be stimulated applies to most animals with noticeable amounts of intelligence, even those that are not typically thought of as particularly smart. De-extinct animals are no exception to this.
Types and use
In the Dinosaur Protection Group, caring for animals in Sanctuaries is one of the many services provided by members to these creatures. Toys are distributed in containers to DPG members around the world via a global network of supply drops, which all members can access.
What type of toy is provided to an animal depends on that particular animal’s habits and needs. For example, more aggressive animals (regardless of their diet) will be given toys that appeal to these behavioral traits, such as life-sized stuffed cows which stimulate an interaction with a prey item or a territorial rival. This allows the animal to exercise its more aggressive behaviors without the risk of being injured by another creature. Rubber vehicle tires are useful for these types of animals as well, but their durability also lends them as playthings to bigger and more powerful creatures, so they are more versatile toys. For smaller and less aggressive creatures, toys such as balls and metal pipes are often provided, with the shape and composition of the object selected to appeal to the particular animal.
Providing the animals with a source of comfort, enjoyment, and stimulation ensures that they remain psychologically healthy while in a Sanctuary. Since playing gets the animals into a more comfortable state, this allows DNA samples to be easily obtained from them.