Overview and Meaning

Twirling is a stereotypy - a repetitive, unvarying behavior lacking apparent goal or function. Twirling is fast, repetitious, tight circles performed on specific cage top bars (determined by each individual mouse).


A mouse hangs by its forepaws from the cage bars and moves in rapid, tight circles in the same direction. Its body orientation (i.e. body positioning and paw placement) are very consistent for each turn.

Twirling can be distinguished as follows:

  1. It is important to watch a video carefully to make sure that the mouse's movements are truly twirling and not circling. The main difference is a mouse relies primarily on the front limbs and performs a repetitive tight circular motion on the cage top.
  2. Another way to identify twirling is by the twirling direction and by a mouse's body orientation: a twirling mouse will consistently twirl in the same direction, while putting its paws in the same place during every turn.