Do Audible and Ultrasonic Sounds of Intensities Common in Animal Facilities Affect the Autonomic Nervous System of Rodents?

In animal facilities, noises, often poorly controlled, occur over a wide range of frequencies and intensities. Evidence demonstrates that audible noise and ultrasound have deleterious effects on rodent physiology, but it is not known how they affect the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This study exposed 3 unrestrained, male, Sprague-Dawley rats daily to a 15-min white […]

The roles of phylogeny and sociality in the evolution of social play in muroid rodents

A composite index incorporating the frequency and structure (target, type of defence, etc.) of play fighting was used to compare the complexity of such play in 13 species of muroid rodents whose behaviour has been previously described. A phylogenetic comparison of the distribution of the complexity of play fighting revealed that relatedness did not predict […]

Effects of cage-cleaning frequency on laboratory rat reproduction, cannibalism, and welfare

Regular cage-cleaning is important for health, but for breeding rats it disrupts the nest and removes olfactory signals important for parental care. To investigate how different cage-cleaning frequencies affect breeding rats’ health and welfare, we monitored reproductive output, pup mortality, pup sex ratios, parental chromodacryorrhoea and in-cage ammonia levels for rats in a commercial breeding […]

Variations in the postnatal maternal environment in mice: Effects on maternal behaviour and behavioural and endocrine responses in the adult offspring

According to the maternal mediation hypothesis, brain and behavioural development in rodents is affected by environment-dependent variations in maternal care. Thus, it has been shown that early handling results in reduced behavioural and neuroendocrine responses to stressors and that these effects are associated with increased maternal care received during infancy. To investigate this further in […]

The effects of sex, age and commensal way of life on levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus)

We studied levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in a social rodent — Egyptian spiny mouse. As breeding adults are socially dominant over subadults, and adolescent males are driven away by the dominant males, we addressed the question whether animals within extended families are stressed differently depending upon their social category. In addition, we evaluated […]

Preference tests with rodents to assess housing conditions

Guidelines have been formulated by the European Community (EC 1986) to cover housing conditions for laboratory animals. These guidelines are based essentially on common practice of housing laboratory animals and on limited data concerning relations between housing conditions and either animal growth or development of pathologies. Further information on this subject is required to optimize […]

The influences of standard laboratory cages on rodents and the validity of research data

Standard cages for laboratory animals are often small, minimalist and barren. Such cages can compromise animal welfare, indicating that there are welfare-based reasons for improving their designs. However, a second issue, that is, whether animals from standard laboratory housing and husbandry conditions provide valid research data, also indicates that cage designs and husbandry methods need […]

Better rodent control by better regulation: regulatory incentives and regulator support to improve the humaneness of rodent control

Regulation by government can act as a constraint to improving the humaneness of rodent control, or it can be used to support improvements. How do we make sure it does one and not the other? Societal support and understanding, economic impacts and current knowledge can all ‘make or break’ progress towards improved rodent control. This […]

Behavioral responses to physical vs. social novelty in male and female laboratory rats

Most behavioral tests used with laboratory rodents involve measuring behavioral responses to physical novelty. However, laboratory rodents are often derived from highly social species for which novel social stimuli may induce different levels of fear or curiosity compared to novel physical objects. We hypothesized that behavioral responses will differ in response to novel physical vs. […]

Paternal behavior in rodents

The literature on paternal behavior in rodents includes reports of many species; however, paternal behavior appears more prevalent among muroid and hystricomorph rodents than in the sciurids. Many reports of paternal behavior are based on small numbers of animals observed under special conditions. Where systematic studies have been conducted, the most salient feature of rodent […]