Appendix 1. Minimum standards for housing of laboratory mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits

This is Appendix 1 of the Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Laboratory Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs and Rabbits.

Recommendations are in brackets and italics.

Figures in this appendix are based on various international guidelines and codes, and current acceptable minimal standards of practice in Victoria.

Table 1. Minimum standards

Species

Single or group housing or breeding animals

Animal weight

(g)

Min floor area *

(cm² per animal)

Min height **
(cm)

Room temp

(°C)

Relative humidity

(%)

Room vent

(ACH)

Max light
***

(lux)

MICE

single

Any

200

**

18-24

40-70

(10-20)

350

group

<30

60

**

31-40

70

>40

100

breeding

Pair

300

**

Extra females + litter

150 per extra female

RATS

single

<250

500

**

18-24

40-70

(10-20)

350

250-550

700

>550

800

group

<150

150

**

150-350

225

351-550

300

>550

450

breeding

F + litter

800

**

GUINEA PIGS

single

<250

700

20

18-24

40-70

(10-20)

350

250-550

900

23

>550

1000

23

group

<250

300

20

250- 550

450

23

>550

600

23

breeding

F + litter

1200

23

per F in harems

1000

23

RABBITS

See over page

   

<30
(15-24)

40-70

(15-20)

350

* Minimum area includes the area of any shelving or devices in the animal enclosure that doesn't reduce the total available area.

** Minimum height for mice and rat enclosures must allow mice and rats to stand upright on hind legs and ideally look out from the enclosure, especially if singly housed. This may be achieved by using either suitably high opaque or transparent cage enclosures with flat lids or high top lids.

***Maximum light intensity recommended for albino animals is 100 lux for 16 hours continuously.

Table 2. Rabbits — housing space minimum standards

Cages or pens:

Single or group housing or breeding animals

Animal weight*

(kg)

Min. floor area **

(cm² per animal)

Min height ***

(cm)

Single

<2

2000

***

2-4

4000

4-6

5400

>6

6000

Group

<2

1300

***

2-4

2600

4-6

3300

>6

4000

Female + litter

Any weight

9300 per female + litter

***

* The animal weight provides an indication of the age and activity of the rabbits which is the important determinant of space requirements.

** Minimum area includes the area of any shelving in the animal enclosure that doesn't reduce the total available area. Enclosures must be wide and long enough to permit rabbits to lie fully outstretched — minimum of 80cm clear space in at least one direction, and to provide a clear area to facilitate 1 to 3 complete hops for normal exercise requirements.

*** The minimum height must refer to a cage/pen high enough for rabbits to stand upright unhindered (with ears not touching the roof).

Page last updated: 17 Jul 2020