Course Content and Outcome Guide for BMZA 231

Course Number:
BMZA 231
Course Title:
Introduction to Animal Behavior
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the concepts of animal behavior with particular emphasis on species exhibited within zoos. Department permission required. Prerequisites: BMZA 101. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Apply the fundamental concepts of animal behavior to successful animal management.
  • Recognize different animal behavior patterns and apply these to maintaining animal health, safety, wellbeing and sustainable populations in a captive environment.
  • Accurately record observed animal behaviors for the purpose of data collection.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is traditional lecture presentations and class discussions. Lecture will be presented utilizing a variety of multimedia and interactive presentations.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in and contribute to all class and team discussions and activities.
  • Complete homework assignments and projects
  • Complete all scheduled examinations and quizzes

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • History and research in animal behavior
  • Neural and endocrine control of behavior
  • Measuring behavior
  • Behavior patterns exhibited between members of the same species (conspecifics) and those demonstrated between species


  • Methods for recording behavior
  • Social and reproductive behaviors and interactions exhibited in captivity
  • Biorhythms
  • Communication
  • Survival behaviors


  • Natural and atypical behaviors exhibited in zoo animals.
  • Indicators of well being
  • Aggressive behaviors directed at other animals and keepers
  • Explaining behaviors to zoo visitors


  • Careful observation
  • Accurate recording of data
  • Interpretation and application of scientific literature