Social/Group Housing and Enrichment

Following the recommendations outlined in the 8th Edition of the ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and other regulatory and accrediting bodies, group housing of social mammalian species and enrichment of these animals is the default for the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources.

A variety of suitable, species appropriate, enrichment items will be provided. We will separate or regroup incompatible animals if needed. You may request individual housing if appropriate to your study. Enrichment items will be provided regardless of housing type unless specific instructions for your cohorts are received.  If you request single housing or alternatives to micro-environment (within the housing unit) enrichment, including the withdrawal of enrichment, please understand that this deviation MUST be indicated and  listed in, scientifically justified,  and approved by the IACUC in your current approved animal use protocol.  A Special request form must be filled out and presented to the DLAR staff indicating which caging this deviation involves, the length of time it will be in effect, and current contact information for your staff responsible for the group of animals involved. This information must be provided whether it is individual housing of animals on arrival, or from established groups already being housed in DLAR, withholding or limiting the enrichment items, and the dates the Special Request is to begin. If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact DLAR.

Additional items may be added as available or appropriate.


Default Enrichment

Optional Enrichment


Minimum two toys in cage produce fed daily; playpen access on a rotational basis within cage quadrant; daily human interaction.

Destructible toys such as chew sticks; mirrors; food/foraging; swimming pool; swing.



Stainless Steel Mirror; forage feeder; Hay bag w/timothy orchard grass mix hay

Hanging apple milk jug toy


Rubber or plastic balls, heavy chains, empty plastic milk jugs; Forage feeders

Assorted fresh fruit and vegetables, 3 Musketeers® candy bars, and Milk Bone Dog Biscuits® offered on occasion Brooms fixed to side of cage for scratching


Feed is placed out for them to forage

Enviro-dry ®


Elevated plastic resting shelf; Corrugated paper and commercially available cat toys


Cat pillow


Toys, nylabones, raised beds

Starch Bones


Timothy cubes, assorted fresh greens and fruit, Bunny Blocks™ in various flavors, Veggie Bites™, commercial rabbit treats; Timothy Mini hay bales

Toys such as a jingle ball

Guinea Pig

Sterilized paper tubes, Polycarbonate Guinea Pig Huts® and Rodent Retreats

Commercial Guinea Pig treats, apples, and carrots


Sand is offered as bedding

 Sterilized paper tubes and tissues, Rodent Retreats®, Crawl Balls® Commercial Gerbil treats



Sterilized paper tubes and tissues, Rodent Retreats®, Crawl Balls®



Sterilized paper tubes and tissues, Rodent Retreats®, Nylabone®, Crawl Balls®


Nestlets® Enviro-dry®

Sterilized paper tubes or tissues, Shepherd Shacks® , Mouse Igloos® with or without Fast Tracs®, and mouse houses

Mouse; Nude or Hairless


Sterilized paper tubes or tissues, Shepherd Shacks® , Mouse Igloos® with or without Fast Tracs®, and mouse houses