Author Topic: Mousie Intelligence  (Read 1310 times)

Offline Spekx

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Mousie Intelligence
« on: March 12, 2014, 05:53:12 PM »
I have two male mice that are not littermates that have lived together for a couple of months. The first and older of the two is an Albino feeder mouse named Atlas. The younger one is a feeder mouse from Petco, he has unique markings (dark brown to his shoulders then honey colored rest of his body, the tip of his tail is significantly lighter colored then the rest) and is named Speedy (a nod towards Speedy Gonzales from Loony Toons).

This post is going to seem a bit critical of poor Atlas so before I continue I wanted to say a few good things about him. I love this mouse, he has by far the loudest brux of any mouse I've ever owned you can hear it from across the room with a tv on. He is impressive to watch when running on his exercise wheel because he rocks the wheel. Literally rocks the wheel back and forth when he decides to show off. Between the two mice Atlas is EASILY at least physically the strongest mouse. He is my buddy and if I have anything to say about it he will live a long and healthy life.

That being said, Speedy is by far my favorite mouse. This mouse has impressed me since day 1. I never hand trained him and seriously doubt any of the petco employee's did either. But this mouse was already hand trained, and willingly climbs into my hand whenever its offered.

I was surprised when nests starting appearing in the tank that I keep the both of them in, Atlas usually would just sleep in some toilet paper that I always provide to my mice. But shortly after acquiring Speedy this all changed. Atlas started sleeping with Speedy in these little nests that began to appear around the cage.

The first time Speedy rattled his tail I had my back to him and was on the PC checking my email. I turned around to see where the noise was coming from and I honestly couldn't tell. I turned my back again and that same rattling sound happened again. I ignored it again and turned back to my email, this time the rattling persisted, and I look in the direction of the mouse's cage and there looking at me is Speedy, with his tail spinning at a speed I didn't realize was possible for a mouse. The noise was coming from the sound of his tail slapping the wall of his cage.

Yesterday a friend of mine who knows I keep mice was walking down the street and found a Critter Trail cage sitting out in the street. So he brought it over to me, and I thanked him and cleaned it out from top to bottom. I was thinking it would be cool to put in a way for my mice to go from one cage to the other without actually leaving their enclosures and tried to do this with some extra critter trail pieces I have.

My first attempt was poor, it looked like a giant S curve that even Speedy wouldn't try. So I thought about simplifying it and figured out a solution. I took a long pole piece and attached it in a diagonal so that it was low enough that the mice could walk directly up or down from one cage to another. Speedy of course figured out this puzzle in about 2 minutes flat and seemed to have fun traveling from one cage to the other he has even taken to sleeping in the new top cage.

My problem is that Atlas seems oblivious that he can travel between the two cages. He seems to just be happy in the larger old cage that he's been in since I got him.  I really wish he would learn so I could stop putting food in the lower cage (as its a bit of a pain to do so now with the other cage on top of it).

It seems odd to me that there is such a vast difference in intelligence between two members of the same species. Atlas although I love him is dopey, and doesn't seem to learn new things that well. Speedy in contrast seems bright, and a mouse that easily adapts to changes in his environment.

But that makes me want to ask the question.......

Is Speedy smarter because he is able/willing to explore his environment and potentially find new sources of food, water etc.? Or is Atlas smarter because he doesn't take the potential risks of exploring new area's that (in his mind) may contain unknown dangers or predators?
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