Dynamic Maze for Environmental Enrichment of Rodents
We designed the maze for easy manipulation, cleaning, and observation. By connecting the pieces in different ways the maze is easily adaptable to a number of cages. Building into vertical dimensions allows to increase the surface area without requiring custom-built cages used in other approaches. The extension of the accessible surface into the vertical dimension allows mice to exhibit their natural behaviour of navigating through a burrow. By separating food and water sources and configuring the maze appropriately, animals can be encouraged to navigate through the maze. Full transparency allows observation at any location within the cage.
Connecting the Pieces
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Maze pieces can be easily stacked and re-configured. After disassembling the maze the pieces can be easily cleaned and stored.
Maze Pieces Specification
The maze pieces can be produced with most mills or water jets. Download the specifications
Maze piece specification
We used standard rat cages
which can be rack mounted, have air inlets, containment, and can be carried comfortably.
Current environmental enrichment research is confounded by the inconsistent enrichment protocols.
This complicates comparison between studies. Our maze offers as easily-built open source
solution to facilitate reproducible research of spatial enrichment in rodents.
The specific maze layouts we use for environmental enrichment at our lab (Scholz et al., 2015) can be found
Using the novel re-configurable cage design, we found considerable structural brain changes in mice (Scholz et al., 2015).