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Looking after the mice in the Mary Lyon Centre

Every mouse is checked every day by a trained team of animal technicians. This includes weekends, bank holidays and Christmas. The animal technicians make sure that any health problems are addressed, that mice have sufficient to food, water, dry bedding and that the environmental conditions are correct. A Veterinary Surgeon is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to advise on any health concerns and potential medicinal requirements.


The mice are housed in individually ventilated cages (IVC). Each cage has its own highly filtered air supply to provide the animals with a controlled environment. The base of each cage is filled with sterilised aspen wood bedding, not sawdust. This bedding has been though a special preparation process where it is dried, filtered and dusty particles removed and then quality checked before being packed and sent to the MLC. 

Food and water

The food is sterilised by exposure to irradiation and provides all the nutrition a mouse requires to grow and be healthy. The water is filtered and treated to ensure good quality.

Cage environment 

Within the cage there is shredded paper and a cardboard tunnel. The mice build nests and interact with this environmental enrichment.

As mice are sociable animals there is a ‘companion’ policy at Harwell, this means wherever possible mice are placed with a cage mate to ensure they are not living alone. 

Find out more 

For more information on welfare at MRC Harwell please contact:

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