Widget’s adjustment: During the first few weeks Widget was clumsy. He fell off shelves and seemed disoriented. He tended to turn to his right. The degree of his head tilt varied greatly over the course of the day: sometimes his head was almost level, at other times his head was strongly tilted at about 45 degrees.
Over the following months Widget adjusted to his condition. He became more surefooted, he fell off cage shelves much less, and he learned to run in a straight line instead of turning to the right.
Today, Widget at nine months old is well adjusted. His head tilt has stabilized at about 30 degrees. He runs, climbs, and jumps much like other rats, he interacts normally with his cage mates and they with him. His only current impairments are:
(1) Mild clumsiness. He falls off a cage shelf every few days. I have therefore slung a hammock below the shelves so he always has a short fall and a soft landing. Also, when he stands on his hind legs, his cage mates can sometimes push him over.
(2) Reduced agility. He can’t jump as far as other rats, and it takes him longer to climb vertical surfaces.
Widget can be seen here in the background with head tilted.
Case history and photos courtesy of Anne Hanson, M.S., Ph.D. Animal Behavior
Posted on June 26, 2003, 14:53,
Last updated on April 7, 2010, 17:24