Does it seem like all your kid’s pet hamster does is sleep? What about that lazy guniea pig? Or sluggish bunny? Perhaps your lethargic pet is just bored.
The researchers took two groups of caged minks. One group was kept in a small, nearly empty space while the other group was given an “enriched” space with water for wading, passageways for running, objects to chew and towers to climb.
Each group was then given items to play with including objects that should scare the minks like a pair of leather gloves that were usually worn to catch the animals.
It was found that the animals in the empty spaces would avidly seek stimulation, a characteristic that is common with humans who are feeling bored. These minks approached the added items, even the gloves, three times more quickly and investigated them longer than the other group. They also ate more treats, even though they were given as much food as the other group of minks.
When they were not being tested, the minks in the empty cages spent their time lying down.
The authors of the study, which was published in the science journal, PLOS ONE, hope their findings will help encourage the development of better housing for small house pets.
In the meantime though, the study recommends you give your lovable little pets stimulation by buying them larger cages that allow them to roam and toys that will keep them active.
Maybe this video below will offer some encouragement to your pets who are suffering from a little ennui.
- Shannon Carlin, CBS Local