Habituation training

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This page contains films of environmental enrichment of rat cages, and habituation of rats within a particular facility. It also demonstrates their approach to handling and habituation to procedures such as blood sampling and injections.

The large home cages contain a wide assortment of items to provide enrichment, including tunnels, houses, shelters, hammocks and nesting material.

A hammock suspended from the lid of a rat cage

The facility also place the rats in "playpen" cages on a regular basis - these cages contain a large assortment of items to provide enrichment, including tunnels, houses, shelters, multiple levels, hammocks, a "swimming pool" and boxes containing nesting material. The facility uses a square of bedding material suspended from the chest of the animal technician to facilitate contact with the animal, before they are placed in a holding cage containing treats (condensed milk and chocolate biscuits).

This video shows habituation training of rats.
An enriched rat playpen

The rats are also tickled in a holding cage on a regular basis - they are known to derive considerable enjoyment  from this process, which mimics their natural play behaviour. The handling may appear somewhat rough, but it is compatible with the rough and tumble way in which rats normally play with each other. The rats enjoy this so much that they return to the hand for repeated tickling.

A single-handed technique for tickling rats.

This page was created on behalf of the facility by AS191219 (talk) 10:53, 27 July 2021 (UTC).

Other resources: