Social housing


The purpose of this guideline is to set the expectations for social housing of animals used in research and teaching activities at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.


Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th edition, page 64


  • Pair or group housing of social animals will be considered the default method of housing unless otherwise justified based on social incompatibility resulting from inappropriate behavior, veterinary concerns regarding animal well-being, or scientific necessity approved by the IACUC.
  • Social animals will be housed in unisex compatible pairs or groups, rather than individually, unless a single housing exception has been approved in the relevant protocol or social housing poses an undue risk to the animals in question.
  • If the protocol driven need for single housing is necessary only for a portion of the study, the animals should be socially housed before and after that time.
  • Single housing of social animals post-operatively will be the norm and does not need specific exception approval in the relevant protocol. Single housing must be for the minimum amount of time post-operatively necessary for recovery and/or healing, as determined upon advice and oversight of the Veterinarian.
  • When social animals must be housed singly, con-specifics will be housed in visual, olfactory, and/or tactile range whenever possible.
  • When social animals must be housed singly, environmental and/or food enrichment shall be provided unless scientifically contraindicated.
  • These guidelines should be revised with the addition of new species to the census or in the case where significant new information emerges or new approaches to enrichment come to be the norm.

Policy Adoption Date: 11/08/2012

Reference Minutes: 11/08/2012