How Smart Are Mice?

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Mice are smart enough to be trained to find their way through a maze and find their way into people's houses. Discover how mice are not as smart as dogs, cats, monkeys or dolphins with information from a science teacher in this free video on rats.

Part of the Video Series: Mice & Rats
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Video Transcript

Down in Florida where I live, two of the most famous characters don't actually exist in real life. You'll find them over at Orlando, at Walt Disney World, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Now if you've ever watched them on cartoons or in movies, they're always up to something. That Mickey can always seem to get himself out of a bind. But how smart are mice in real life? I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching animal science for almost twenty years now, and I'm here to answer the question; how smart are mice? Well first of all, we have to define, what does it mean to be smart? A mouse isn't going to be able to balance your check book, and they're certainly not going to be able to write the greatest novel, but they've been trained to do some pretty inventive things, like find their way through a maze to get at a piece of food. If you've ever had mice in your house, you also know that they're very crafty at finding their way in, and then getting in to your cupboards and managed, managing to open up all matter of cereal and rice boxes to get the food that they're after, then to take that paper, shred it up and make a nice little warm nest somewhere in that pantry for them to lay their babies in. So, mice can do some pretty basic things. They can actually learn, they can be trained, which we consider that to be pretty smart. In terms of their brain development, obviously they don't have the ability to have language like humans have, and their certainly not quite as smart as your dog or your cat, or a chimpanzee or a dolphin would be. But because they're a mammal, they have a pretty well developed brain, which enables them to do things like learn their way around a maze, or even be trained to sit up for a piece of food if you have a mouse as a pet. So, all in all, mice are actually pretty smart, as the animal kingdom goes. I'm Janice Creneti, and this is how smart are mice?


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