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Why Have Scientists Given Up On Raccoons As Lab Rats As Opposed To The Favored Mice

March 1st, 2017

If someone asked you which type of animal is most often used as test-subject in scientific studies you would certainly guess the rat or mouse. It is true that rats are ideal test subjects since much of their physiology and neural functioning is similar to humans, and they are also relatively intelligent. So why not use any other rodent as test-subject? Does it always have to be rats?

Early psychologists living at the turn of the 20th century did not have rats or mice in mind as test-subjects for studying intelligence, rather they preferred a raccoon as a test-subject. The psychologists were mainly focused on the raccoon’s high intelligence. The intelligence inherent in raccoons was supposedly on par with monkeys.

There was one problem; the raccoons were unmanageable and downright troublemakers. The researchers at the time complained of raccoons eating themselves free from their cages only to make a home in the structures ventilation systems. Too smart for the scientists it seems.

Which animal do you think is best suited for scientific experiments, and remember that physical pain is often a part of being a animal test-subject?

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