Territorial Behavior

Overview and Meaning

Territorial behavior is a context in which agonistic interactions occur. Many territorial behaviors may not be observed in laboratory mice, due to housing conditions. Laboratory mice are either group or individually housed. Due to the size of their enclosures territoriality may not be present from an inability to scent mark clear boundaries. It is more likely that in the confined conditions of laboratory mice a hierarchical system has replaced territorial behaviors. 

(Biology of the House Mouse )


A territory is an area in space that is defended by an animal (by both male and female mice in the wild) and which contains a resource, for example food, nest site, or females. Territories are defended ritualistically, which minimizes the need for life-threatening escalated aggression.


Agonistic Interactions


Territorial behavior and dominance behavior differ in both the context that they occur, the resources under competition, and the threat behavior that initiates the interaction.