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Lab Animal Enrichment & Impact on Research Outcomes

lab mice

Traditionally, laboratory animals were kept in “bare bones” environments. The idea was to simplify the experiment and eliminate as many variables as possible.

However, with declining experimental reproducibility rates in human trials (only 1 in 9 drugs entering human trials will succeed), there is a growing suspicion that the low rate of translation from animal research to human outcomes may be related to animal welfare in the trials.

Regarding this dilemma Dr. Joseph Garner, associate professor for the comparative medicine department at Stanford noted “In my opinion, [the problem] fundamentally boils down to the quality of science being done in the initial discovery work with animals, and it’s inseparable from animal welfare.”

Otto Environmental understands the need to enrich the lives of lab animals for their welfare and success in trials. We’ve designed these easy to implement enrichment products to help improve your animal’s welfare in the laboratory environment.

The Rat Loft is a stainless steel is a hanging platform provides a “hangout” for rats and mice. For instance, they may climb onto the ledge or nestle under it. The Rat Loft is available as a solid platform or a perforated ledge and is autoclavable for sanitation.

rat loft gallery
Rat Loft (2 Styles)

Small rodents like to retreat to dark, safe spaces. The Jerboa Nesting Box is ideal for mice, rats, gerbils, jerboas, hamsters, and moles. The box has an inner divider that creates a separate space for nest building.  Additionally, the lid has a stainless-steel hinge allowing for easy access to the box.

Jerboa Nesting Box

Adding complexity to your animal’s environment improves health and development. The Stainless Steel Hanging Mirror is an interesting “shiny object” that intrigues curious animals. The all-stainless construction is smooth, rugged, and easy to clean.

Hanging Mirror

Mice and other rodents thrive when they have things to explore and nibble. The Mouse Relaxer provides tactile, visual, and audible stimulation. All types of rodents love to lick, grasp, and rattle the stainless-steel bead chains. Just hang it from a cage bar.

mouse relaxer enrichment device
Mouse Relaxer

It’s no secret small rodents like mice and gerbils love to crawl through tubes. However, a cardboard tube will get chewed up in minutes. Our 3” Stainless-Steel Rodent Tube can’t be shredded! The 3” x 3” tube won’t rust and is autoclavable. The 4” Rat Round Rodent Tube is larger (4” x 6”) and suitable for rodents of any size including large rats. Small rodents like mice and mole rats will enjoy our 2” x 4” Mouse Round and Mouse Square stainless-steel tubes. All tubes have smooth, safe edges.

Stainless Steel Rodent Tubes

Boredom creates stress in rabbits. The Rabbit Relaxer is a larger version of the Mouse Relaxer. Mount the relaxer on a cage bar. Rabbits like to rear up on hind legs to investigate this enrichment tool.

rabbit relaxer
Rabbit Relaxer

Edible Enrichment is a key component for creating a positive primate habitat. One product, The Spin-A-Snack Primate Enrichment System (PES), is a rotating polycarbonate feeder that dispenses interesting foods like peanuts, seeds, and popcorn. The Spin-A-Snack is compatible with the PES system.

spin-a-snack
Spin-A-Snack (PES)
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Mouse Habitat Enrichment & You

Besides being pantry pests and sometimes playful pets, it is well known that mice can be employed by both animal scientists as subjects inhumane research and by zookeepers as a healthy diet for some animals in their care.

So, it makes sense to provide a high level of care for this fast-breeding and quickly maturing rodent, no matter what your relationship.  The right type of caging and nesting materials are as important as diet in maintaining a healthy population of one or one hundred.

Providing enough variety and challenge with the right enrichment approach is also key to reducing the stress and boredom that comes with captivity.

For the past few months, we have been taking a poll on our e-commerce website to see what our visitors think that mice most prefer.   Here are the latest results of the poll:

  • Play Toys (27 vote(s) – 5.5%)
  • Shelters (166 vote(s) – 33.5%)
  • Chew Toys (60 vote(s) – 12.1%)
  • Shreddable (242 vote(s) – 48.9%)

Otto Environmental’s online store has an amazing amount of equipment and enrichment items to explore and purchase, from caging and bedding material to play toys and exercise wheels.

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The Versa-Rod, For Innovative Mouse and Small Mammal Enrichment

Spring-loaded, made from stainless steel with washable plastic end caps, the Versa-Rod is a simple and extremely versatile device designed to improve enrichment for all small rodents.

The video below shows some of the ways you can use this new, exclusive item from Otto Environmental.

Adding one or more Versa-Rods to your mouse, gerbil, or hamster cage can provide many opportunities for not only basic climbing enrichment, but for behavior control, to hang instruments for testing and toys for more advanced play.  7 1/2″ long.

Animal enrichment has never been better at Otto Environmental, with new products being added all the time. Visit our online store often to find many unique enrichment items, in-stock and ready to ship.

Caging and equipment is our other area of expertise, with loads of solutions for small to medium size animals.  We even offer custom solutions when something other than what we have in-stock is called for.