Bárdos, B., Nagy, I., Gerencsér, Z. et al. 2022. Nest material preference of wild mouse species in laboratory housing. Applied Sciences 12(11), 5750.

Our research examined the nest-building characteristics of two mouse species native to Hungary, the mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus), under laboratory housing conditions. In indoor housing, the nest-building material plays a very important role in the welfare of the animals. The present study examined how wild mouse species choose from natural nest material. In a three-way test, mice were able to choose whether to make their nest from long blades of hay, nonfibrous cotton, or paper strips. In addition, the effect of nest composition on its quality was also investigated. The test was run at the standard laboratory (21 °C) and lower (10 °C) temperatures, assuming that temperature influences the choice. Based on the results of the three-way selection tests, both species of wild mice chose hay nest material in the highest proportion, and it was also found that the increasing the hay proportion coincided with better nest quality. Mice kept in colder places used more hay nest material for their nests and built better quality nests. Our results show that wild mouse species prefer natural nest-building materials that meet their ecological needs even under laboratory conditions, resulting in a good quality nest. This finding is worth considering in designing appropriate enclosures for wild rodent species.

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