Mice and rats are social animals, which means that in nature, they live in groups. Therefore, the animals are also group housed in our university, unless this is not possible within the experiment. The bottom of the cage is covered with bedding material and cage enrichment (nesting material, play tunnels, gnawing cubes) is present. In addition, the animals have free access to food and water.
Figure 9: Group housing mice with cage enrichment at Hasselt University (side view).
Figure 10: Group housing rats with cage enrichment at Hasselt University (top view).
Figure 11: Group housing rats with cage enrichment at Hasselt University (side view).
Mice and rats are also nocturnal animals, which means they are mainly active at night. When researchers perform a behavioural test, this is done during the active phase (at night). In order to prevent that researchers would have to test their animals during the night, the day/night cycle of these animals is reversed. In these housing rooms, the lights are on during the night, while at day time it is dark.