Importance of Enrichment

According to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, “the primary aim of environmental enrichment is to enhance animal well-being by providing animals with sensory and motor stimulation through structures and resources that facilitate the expression of species-specific behaviors and promote psychological well-being through physical exercise, manipulative activities, and cognitive challenges according to species-specific characteristics.”


Social housing is considered by AAALAC International as the default method of housing unless otherwise justified based on social incompatibility, veterinary concerns, or scientific necessity approved by the IACUC.


The Guide also states that single housing of social species should be the exception and justified based on experimental requirements or veterinary-related concerns about animal well-being.

Types of Enrichment


Enrichment Items that enhance the environment such as hammocks, perches, ropes, platforms, or igloos.

Rabbit Play Pens


Social animals should be with their counterparts.  This is the best form of enrichment we can provide in the laboratory.

Ferret Jingle Ball


Creating enrichment where animals work for food items such as PVC feeders, icees, etc.

Three guinea pigs eating sweet potato leaves


Enrichment that includes problem solving such as puzzle boards, manipulanda etc.



Enrichment that  stimulates the senses such as televisions, paintings, or radio.

Green budgerigar parrot close up sits on cage near the mirror. Cute green budgie.