Mice like to go to the gym

The scientific community has always wondered whether running on a wheel was a natural mouse behaviour… until now

Wild mice enjoy running on a wheel when given the opportunity. Scientists performed a study over three years, leaving a wheel in an open cage monitored by a motion-sense camera. The setup was left in a corner of the researcher’s back garden. Over the years more than 200,000 animals visited the wheel including shrews, rats and even frogs.

The findings of this study suggest that rodents enjoy exercise, and are capable of running over five kilometres (three miles) in a single night. The wild mice in the study competed to use the wheel and larger mice were seen to force smaller animals off the circular treadmill.

Using up energy with no reward goes against the rules of the animal kingdom. Energy is a precious commodity that is vital for survival. Being able to run gives a mouse an edge against predators and scientists are still debating whether running on a wheel helps sharpen their skills or wastes their energy.

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Image from flickr.com/photos/braydawg