Overview and Meaning
Route tracing is a stereotypy - a repetitive, unvarying behavior lacking apparent goal or function. Route tracing is a designated path on the cage top or floor that is idiosyncratic to different mice, however only the path(s) of the route traced are consistent for each individual mouse. This type of stereotypy may have an extremely fixed beginning or ending sequence, which helps delineate the bout of stereotypy for the observer, and may involve other behaviors such as investigate - undirected sniffing or bar-mouthing.
Please see Garner, et al. 2003
A mouse will trace out an identical, repeated route around the cage lid or on the cage floor.
An individual route may be identical on each repetition, or may have 'optional' sections that are skipped on some repetitions. In addition as a mouse switches from one route to another, it may oscillate between the two routes at the common elements of the two routes.