Rats Taught to Drive for Food

Rats Taught to Drive for Food

Rats Taught to Drive for Food
Photo: Science Alert

Rats successfully drive themselves to pick up food, research shows.

In a study published in Behavioral Brain Research, researchers said rats can drive tiny cars to retrieve Froot Loops.

A team of researchers from the University of Richmond shared it spent weeks teaching rats to drive a hand-made “rodent operated vehicle.”

The experiment created interesting results about the animals’ ability to learn complex tasks.

This research adds related literature when conducting studies on human neurological diseases and psychiatric illnesses.

Rats Taught to Drive for Food
Photo: New Scientist

Previous research shows these rodents can perform other different tasks pressing bars and recognizing objects. But this study captures “a narrow window of animal cognition,” said in a report.

READ: Blue Light Night Exposure Can Boost Sugary Snacks Consumption (In Rats)

The car is made out of a clear plastic food container that is attached to an aluminum plate, fitted with a set of wheels.

When conducting the research, the team divided the experimentation into two sets: under lab conditions and under “enriched environment.”

The latter included plenty of toys, ladders and wood chips for mental stimulation.

During the stimulation, the researchers dangled Froot Loops in front of the said animals.

Results show rodents in the enriched environment “demonstrated more robust learning in driving performance.” Further, driving relaxes rats.

This study can shed light when studying Parkinson’s disease impacts motor and spatial skills, using rats as models.


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