Animal research: Tips from pet rat owners could improve lab rat welfare

Owners’ insights on the behaviour of their pet rats could help researchers improve the welfare of rats in the laboratory


20 December 2021

Medical Research: albino rat for animal experiments

A rat in a research laboratory

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Laboratory rats might live better lives if they had cages that let them stand up, climb and romp about, according to researchers who gathered lessons on the animals’ behaviour from pet rat owners.

Vikki Neville at the University of Bristol in the UK turned to private owners’ expertise to learn how to improve rats’ living environments and recognise possible indicators of their well-being.

“Allowing rats to express natural behaviours is really, really important for their welfare and for better science,” says Neville.

As a scientist …