Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Wheel Running Isn't Neurotic: Wild Animals Love a Good Wheel Too!
Article: Study Shows That Mice Run for Fun not Just for Lab Work
Scientists have sometimes pondered that running in a wheel may actually be a neurotic behavior induced by being cooped up in a cage too long. Of course, most of us with wheel runners know that our pets are not neurotic and that many actually enjoy a good run in the wheel (many big boys, however, prefer a nice long snooze in the wheel to an actual run).
Now, a couple of scientists have gone the extra mile to see whether wild animals, if given the opportunity, would choose to run in a wheel. The answer was an overwhelming "Yes!" They set up a wheel in an outdoor garden area, then set up some cameras with motion detectors to record what happened. The found that wild mice just loved the wheel. And while mice were the most common visitor, they also had rats, moles, frogs, and even snails and slugs work the wheel at least one revolution around.
The article included a brief video of a mouse in the wheel, but I did a little digging and found another video including more mice, a frog, a slug, and a snail: Wild Animals Caught on Hamster Wheel. Worth watching if you don't mind putting up with the 30-second ad that airs before it plays.
I don't know about you, but I suddenly have an irresistible urge to setup a wheel along the back fence of our backyard, hook up a webcam, and see what happens.