Devices for handling small mammals in laboratory conditions
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Wild rodents, and especially rats, are significantly more difficult to handle, maintain and breed than laboratory rats and mice. They can be characterized as more skittish, neophobic and aggressive. While establishing a breeding colony of wild Norwegian rats (Rattus norvegicus) I developed some helpful devices and I will describe them here. In this paper I also describe the techniques for transporting animals between their home cages, separating them inside cages, and catching individuals that escape. These devices do not require any home cage modification. They may be modified for size. With size modification these devices may be used for handling animals in any type of laboratory cages. They may be used with all species of small mammals, for example, mice, gerbils, hamster, and opossums. They prove especially helpful when physical contact with humans is a problem (e.g. SPF conditions of breeding, and behavioral procedures that do not allow handling).
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Rafal Stryjek, The Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Warsaw, Poland