Traditionally, mice are picked up by the base of the tail to be moved for cage change, exams, or procedures. Now, evidence shows that picking mice up with tunnels or cupped hands is an important, impactful 3Rs refinement.
Tunnel Handling: Requires equipment, but minimal habituation is required. Best for less experienced handlers, wild/jumpy/aggressive mice, naïve mice, or biosecurity concerns.
Cupping: No additional equipment is required, but habituation is essential. Best for more experienced handlers, outbred or older mice, habituated mice, pups and young weanlings, mice with delicate implants, and large mice that can’t fit in tunnels.
*Different strains may also be better suited for tunnel handling vs. cupping
These videos from University of Liverpool show how to use a tunnel or cupped hands to pick up mice prior to conducting normal procedures (e.g., restraint, injection).