The Garage Mice

We have a few mice in our garage, and so, inspired by the IRON MOUSE CHALLENGE of Springwatch and a similar experiment run by a friend, I have started something practically the same.
This is the highly prestigious GARAGE MOUSE AGILITY CHALLENGE, and consists of a series of home-made obstacles found in the garage, baited with peanuts and peanut butter, and filmed using a trail camera.

NIGHT 1: The mice took all the bait on the floor, and didn’t bother to use the assault course! No point in putting up a video.

NIGHT 2:

Here we go – the first film. The course so far consists of of a roughly 45 degree wooden plank, and a long piece of taut string at the top with some bait at the end. The mice found the slope easy, but the string presented some difficulty…
You can see their tails acting like the poles tightrope walkers use – slightly lowering the centre of gravity but mainly increasing the rotational inertia so that it is more difficult for the mouse to be rotated around the string. If the mouse does start to tilt off, this gives it more time to react and stabilise itself.
At one point it even goes upside down! It uses its tail as a safety rope around the string and promptly rights itself.
The challenge tomorrow will change slightly – I have added ‘THE WOBBLY STICKS’. We’ll see how the mice react…

NIGHT 3:
The reaction is disappointing. The mice decide to only take the bait at the bottom of the course and not even attempt the ramp. I’ll leave it up tonight and see if they’re more comfortable with the course then.

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