Evidence-based refinements for mice & rats.
As laboratory animals spend the large majority of their lives in their home enclosure, the design of this area is critical for their health and welfare. Substandard housing can lead to aggression, stereotypes, and anxiety. The best housing should promote key species-specific natural behavior and allow animal choice.
Making changes to current housing standards can be challenging especially because of variations between cabin styles. Work from where you are at for continuous improvements. Also keep in mind that some of the recommendations below (e.g., providing running wheels to mice) can impact some specific experimental models.
Before implementing housing changes, be sure to consult the relevant scientific literature and consider the requirements of your scientific model. Each facility may require an individual approach to increasing housing standards. We recommend considering these implementation tips.
A mouse peeks out of a well-formed nest.
A highly enriched group-housed rat cage.