Laboratory Mice Burrowing Responses to Predator Calls

Students: Katie Vonderembse, Brianna Graber, and Molly Seeberger
Mentor: Shala Hankison (OWU Department of Zoology)

The avoidance of predation is an essential trait in mice and depends on the ability of the mouse to recognize its predators. It is predicted that the calls of predators act as stimuli which signal the presence of potential danger. Laboratory mice have been shown to respond with defensive behaviors, such as burrowing, when exposed to the the calls of predators. To test how mice respond to different predator calls, we will play the sounds of three owls, Eastern Screech Owl, Tawny Owl, and American Barn Owl, and look at burrowing behaviors. Human voices reading a book will be used as a control. We predict that mice will exhibit longer burrowing behaviors when played the sounds of a familiar predator call. This study will help us understand innate defensive behaviors of laboratory mice that have never been exposed to predators. Although we found no significant differences between the type of predator and the mean number of burrows, we hope future research can improve upon this study.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3880

David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection