TABLE 3.2Recommended Minimum Space for Commonly Used Laboratory Rodents Housed in Groups*

AnimalsWeight, gFloor Area/Animal,a in.2 (cm2)Height,b in. (cm)Comments
Mice in groupsc<106 (38.7)5 (12.7)Larger animals may require more space to meet the performance standards.
Up to 158 (51.6)5 (12.7)
Up to 2512 (77.4)5 (12.7)
>25≥15 (≥96.7)5 (12.7)
Female + litter51 (330) (recommended space for the housing group)5 (12.7)Other breeding configurations may require more space and will depend on considerations such as number of adults and litters, and size and age of litters.d
Rats in groupsc<10017 (109.6)7 (17.8)Larger animals may require more space to meet the performance standards.
Up to 20023 (148.35)7 (17.8)
Up to 30029 (187.05)7 (17.8)
Up to 40040 (258.0)7 (17.8)
Up to 50060 (387.0)7 (17.8)
>500≥70 (≥451.5)7 (17.8)
Female + litter124 (800) (recommended space for the housing group)7 (17.8)Other breeding configurations may require more space and will depend on considerations such as number of adults and litters, and size and age of litters.d
Hamstersc<6010 (64.5)6 (15.2)Larger animals may require more space to meet the performance standards.
Up to 8013 (83.8)6 (15.2)
Up to 10016 (103.2)6 (15.2)
>100≥19 (≥122.5)6 (15.2)
Guinea pigscUp to 35060 (387.0)7 (17.8)Larger animals may require more space to meet the performance standards.
>350≥101 (≥651.5)7 (17.8)
*

The interpretation of this table should take into consideration the performance indices described in the text beginning on page 55.

a

Singly housed animals and small groups may require more than the applicable multiple of the indicated floor space per animal.

b

From cage floor to cage top.

c

Consideration should be given to the growth characteristics of the stock or strain as well as the sex of the animal. Weight gain may be sufficiently rapid that it may be preferable to provide greater space in anticipation of the animal’s future size. In addition, juvenile rodents are highly active and show increased play behavior.

d

Other considerations may include culling of litters or separation of litters from the breeding group, as well as other methods of more intensive management of available space to allow for the safety and well-being of the breeding group. Sufficient space should be allocated for mothers with litters to allow the pups to develop to weaning without detrimental effects for the mother or the litter.

From: 3, Environment, Housing, and Management

Cover of Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. 8th edition.
National Research Council (US) Committee for the Update of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.
Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.

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