Definition

Active behaviors are characterized by the presence of motion, in contrast to inactive behaviors and unknown behaviors.

When a mouse is active, it is moving and doing various things, from interacting with other cagemates to cleaning itself, to investigating objects within its environment.

Therefore, a mouse’s active behaviors collectively enable it to create bonds with other mice, acquire energy during feeding, and establish a social hierarchy. Active behaviors are crucial for keeping the mouse healthy, in order to sustain itself and be able to reproduce successfully.

Since active behaviors make up such a large portion of a mouse’s time and life, it is no wonder why so much of behavioral research is dedicated to this class of behaviors.

active behaviors infographic

Classification

Active behaviors can be divided into two broad categories

  1. General Activity
  2. Maintenance Behavior

While maintenance behavior refers to the behaviors that are directly necessary for maintaining homeostasis, general activity refers to any of the other active behaviors.

Active behaviors which are classified as Maintenance Behaviors include:

  • Drinking
  • Feeding
  • Grooming
  • Nesting

Active behaviors which are also General Activity Behaviors include:

  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Affiliative behaviors
  • Agonistic behaviors
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Maternal behaviors
  • Miscellaneous behaviors
  • Sexual behaviors

Together, maintenance and general activity behaviors (and the behaviors from each category) define a mouse’s ‘active behaviors’.