Rodent conservation, zoos, and the importance of the “common species”

Male house mice do not adjust sperm allocation in response to odours from related or unrelated rivals

Sperm competition theory predicts that males should adjust the number of sperm they ejaculate adaptively, according to sociosexual cues of sperm competition at the time of mating. Specifically, it is predicted that (1) males will respond to an increased risk of sperm competition from rivals by increasing sperm allocation, and (2) the increase in allocation […]

More than numbers matter: The effect of social factors on behaviour and welfare of laboratory rodents and non-human primates☆

With the development of laboratory animal science, increasing attention has been given to the possible influence of housing and husbandry on the behaviour and welfare of laboratory animals as well as on the scientific integrity. With the present paper, we aim to contribute to this knowledge by reviewing existing literature on how social factors influence […]

Effect of a cage divider permitting social stimuli on stress and food intake in rats

The need to obtain data from individual laboratory animals has forced many researchers to singly-house small animals. This is costly to the researcher and isolation can adversely affect animal physiology and behavior which in turn may threaten the validity and generalization of experiment results to humans. We assessed the practical use of a housing device […]

Development of husbandry practices for the captive breeding of key largo woodrats (Neotoma floridana smalli)

The Key Largo woodrat is an endangered rodent endemic to the island of Key Largo in the Florida Keys. After several reports documented a steep decline in the population, the US Fish and Wildlife Service developed a recovery plan, including captive breeding and reintroduction. Captive breeding efforts were to be focused on providing animals for […]

Immune defense and reproductive pace of life in peromyscus mice

Immune activity is variable within and among vertebrates despite the potentially large fitness costs of pathogens to their hosts. From the perspective of life history theory, immunological variability may be the consequence of counterbalancing investments in immune defense against other expensive physiological processes, namely, reproduction. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that immune […]

‘Anxiety’ in laboratory rodents: a brief review of some recent behavioural developments

It is clearly difficult to determine which of the multitude of behavioural and physiological indices provides the most reliable indicator of ‘stress’ in any particular animal. Although ‘fear’ and ‘anxiety’ have obvious survival value in feral animals, the induction of intense or chronic states of fearfulness are likely to account for much of the ‘stress’ […]

Exposure to humans and activity pattern of European souslik (Spermophilus citellus) in zoo conditions

European souslik (Spermophilus citellus) is an endangered species being the subject of reintroduction plan in some European countries, including Poland. It is important to obtain data about behavior of reintroduced species, especially a reaction to captivity of specimens prepared to release. The aim of this study was to evaluate influence of human exposure on sousliks […]

Adolescent sleep patterns in humans and laboratory animals

This article is part of a Special Issue “Puberty and Adolescence”. One of the defining characteristics of adolescence in humans is a large shift in the timing and structure of sleep. Some of these changes are easily observable at the behavioral level, such as a shift in sleep patterns from a relatively morning to a […]

Toward genuine rodent welfare: Response to reviewer comments