Pet mice spend the majority of their lives within their enclosure or home-cage. Not surprisingly, the quality of this environment has a huge impact on the physical and psychological welfare of mice.
The term “environmental enrichment” is used to describe the process of improving the environment of captive animals. When animals are deprived of the opportunity to perform natural behaviors, they might show signs of distress. These can manifest as repetitive, seemingly purposeless actions (stereotypies), chronic stress or illness.
You can fill a cage with an endless variety of furnishings and toys but, unless you put some thought into what you aim to achieve, your mice might be no better off.
So how do you go about optimizing or enriching your pets’ environment?
True environmental enrichment provides stimulation and opportunities for mice to perform natural or species-specific behaviors. These include socializing, grooming, exploring, foraging, climbing, hiding, gnawing, manipulating objects, nesting and digging.
**For the full article, pick up the 2009 issue of Critters USA or click here to buy the issue.**