Are Mice Intelligent Pets? Can You Teach Them?

Mice are, in fact, among the most intelligent animals you can keep as pets. They are quick to learn tricks and to orient themselves in completely new environments. Although mice are much smaller than dogs, their brain is just as sharp at figuring things out.

Their eyesight is poor but they can make up for this handicap by using their other senses as best as they can. Navigating themselves through from one spot to another and memorizing it is one of their specialties. Mice love to play, they are highly social and each of them has a unique personality.

Moreover, they are easy to take care of and don’t take up much space. But what makes mice so intelligent and how smart they are compared to rats and hamsters? Let’s find out!

Can You Teach Tricks to Pet Mice?

Mice have an excellent memory and they are capable of learning tricks as well. First off, a mouse can easily memorize his own name and respond to it. Another thing you can easily teach them is to sit up when you are about to give them food.

But these are rather simple ones compared to the wide range of crazy and complex tricks people tend to teach to their own mice. Thanks to their intelligence and curiosity, they can remember and repeat them all after you have invested the time required to teach them.

In fact, what mice are really good at is finding where the food is hidden. You can also use this simple trigger to teach them many different tricks. They are excellent problem solvers, especially compared to how small they are.

Are Mice Smart Enough to Avoid Traps?

Mice can decide to avoid traps but not because they know that it’s actually a trap. Other mice disappearing around them doesn’t necessarily make them avoid traps either. However, if they can catch a human smell around it, they are going to avoid the trap.

Finding a dead mouse in the trap that has a strong smell also makes them avoid the trap. This is why removing all these smells is essential when setting up a trap that actually works. When mice start to avoid traps, we tend to think that they figured out that it’s actually the trap.

A mouse won’t be able to figure out that the trap can actually kill him. Although they are smart, they are not able to identify something as complex as a trap.

Which are Smarter Rats or Mice?

Rats were an important part of psychology experiments throughout a hundred years. They were simply thought to be smarter than mice when it comes to experiments performed in labs. According to a research performed by Tony Zador, mice can be just as smart in the lab as rats.

They are capable of learning the same tricks and accomplishing the same tasks. This discovery has opened the door to all kinds of new research methods, especially in the field of genetics. Back in the day, researchers didn’t use the best method to figure out how smart mice are compared to rats.

They would just put a mouse in a cage designed for rats and concluded that they are not as smart. The fact is that you simply can’t treat mice the same way as rats were treated for hundreds of years.

Are Mice Smarter than Hamsters?

Comparing rats to mice already suggests that different rodents are good in different things. We can’t really say that hamsters are smarter than mice but they are better at certain things and worse in other tasks. For example, hamsters are very good at storing food and remembering where it is.

They can also remember how much food there is left to consume because they care a lot more about storing food than mice. Their cognitive abilities differ, which is why researchers use rats, mice and hamsters as well.

It just depends on which rodent is the best for the particular research they are performing. Overall, we can say that both hamsters and mice are pretty smart, only in different ways.

Wrapping Up

We can conclude that mice are among the most intelligent pets you can keep at home. Compared to their size, they are absolute geniuses and capable of learning a wide range of tricks. It turns out that pretty much the same applies to other rodents such as rats and hamsters as well.

It is not easy to tell whether one rodent species is smarter than the other. There are many factors and each of them excels in different tasks. If you are asking this from the standpoint of which rodent you should buy, then our answer is that there should be no priority based on this.

You will have a lot of fun with your pet whether you decide to buy a mouse, a hamster or a rat. They are all intelligent, playful and bond closely to their owners.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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