Abnormal Behaviors

Overview and Meaning

Abnormal behaviors are individual and social actions that are disturbing, destructive, or detrimental to the physiological, psychological, and social well-being of a mouse and its cagemates. They are behaviors that differ in pattern, frequency, or context from that shown by most members of a species. The type of abnormal behavior, Maladaptive or Malfunctional, exhibited by a mouse depends on the individual and its environment. This is exemplified by three abnormal behavior categories: infanticide, barbering, and stereotypy. Infanticide is the behavioral product of a normal animal in an abnormal environment, while stereotypy and barbering are the consequences of  abnormal animals in abnormal environments.


Abnormal behaviors are can be thought of as :

  1. Unnatural - They are seen only in captivity. e.g. stereotypy.
  2. Unexpected - If the behaviors are seen in the wild and captivity, they occur under inappropriate circumstances (e.g.Infanticide), or are performed to an excessive degree (e.g. Ulcerative Dermatitis) .
  3. Nonfunctional - For example self injury and increased mortality. They can affect social interactions, growth, and reproduction. e.g.  Infanticide, Ulcerative Dermatitis and Barbering.
  4. Distress - Caused in the animal or its cagemates.  e.g.  Infanticide, Ulcerative Dermatitis and Barbering.
  5. Infrequent - They are seen only in a subset of individuals. e.g. Barbering, Ulcerative Dermatitis and Stereotypy.


Abnormal behaviors are  a top-level classification, which include:


General Activity


Maladaptive or Malfunctional