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What do mice dream about?

When I lived in a sad, pokey apartment in Pawtucket, I kept pet mice. I soon came to appreciate what sweet, clean — and above all, individual — little creatures they are.

It didn’t make me rethink what we do to mice in the name of science – I am firmly on Team Human – but it made me distinctly uncomfortable about it.

Also, when I wrote this, it had long since been proven true:

“Alone in clear acrylic boxes with a handful of cedar shavings in a brightly-lit laboratory eating pellets is about as antithetical to a mouse’s happy inclinations as you can get. If, indeed, emotional well-being turns out to play a significant role in health, all our medical studies using mice are gefukt.”

There was a famous addiction experiment where mice were kept in lab boxes and given a choice of plain water or cocaine water. They all chose cocaine water until they OD’ed and died.

Then in the Seventies came psychologist Dr Bruce Alexander, who wondered if mice drank the coke because their lives were so shit. He designed an experiment that has come to be called “Rat Park” – a fun, happy rodent environment with friends and toys and sex. These rats seldom chose the coke-water, seemed to use it recreationally when they did and never, ever OD’ed.

What do mice dream about?


Comment from Some Mouse
Time: May 6, 2024, 6:25 pm

🎶All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
Snuggled down in an enormous chair
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Lots of chocolate for me to eat
Lots of coal makin’ lots of heat
Warm face, warm hands, warm feet
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: May 6, 2024, 9:32 pm

This blogpost discusses some recent research into the neurology of addiction done with genetically modified mice. The researchers shut down a particular neurochemical signal. When exposed to cocaine or morphine, the modified mice continued eating and drinking normally, while control mice stopped.

I wonder if the researchers are aware of the “Rat Park” experiment.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: May 6, 2024, 11:05 pm

We have rats out back under the shed. Being as I believe one should eat what one kills I live trap the little buggers.

Aside from the tail they’re kinda cute. I’m always amazed at how clean and well groomed they look. I give them a free re-lo to a nature area down in the Trinity River bottom land.
I admit to wondering if they blend in with their new neighbors down there,

Comment from Armybrat
Time: May 7, 2024, 2:13 am

I had a white lab rat as a pet when I was a kid. He was a smart thing and I loved him. Now I live in FL and hate the palm rats with a white hot passion as they cost me many hundreds in pool equipment and fascia repair. I

Comment from OldFert
Time: May 7, 2024, 5:36 am

Fertdaughter kept mice when she was little. I was surprised that almost all of them (lineage from the pet store) developed tumors of one sort or another.
Made me wonder how much of the “lab results” from observing mice are just naturally occurring manifestations of their breeding.

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