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Scent and fearFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to ascertain how fear affects the ability of mice to find food. The science project experiment involved comparing the time taken by mice to complete two mazes, one with and the other without the presence of the scent of a cat.

Hypothesis

The scent of a cat will cause a mouse to be slower in finding its food.

Scientific Terms

Mammals, rodent, species, parasites

Background

Mouse

Mice are mammals that belong to the rodent family. They have long tails and thin fur and are sometimes kept as pets. Mice are quite adaptable to any kind of environment and because they also breed very quickly, they are one of the most prevalent species of mammals on our planet.

Mice are also known to invade homes to scavenge for food and to find shelter. They also spread diseases through parasites that they carry on their bodies, or through their urine and feces. Initially mice were found mostly in farms where they caused many problems by damaging and eating crops. Urbanization brought mice into towns and cities, where they have adapted to living in sewers and drains. Although mice are herbivores, consuming fruit and grains, they have adapted to life in urban cities, eating any kind of scrap food.

Mice are normally preyed upon by larger animals such as cats, larger birds, snakes and wild dogs. They are nocturnal animals that sleep in the day and search for food at night. Therefore, mice have poor eyesight but fortunately for them, an extremely keen hearing and smell. A mouse depends on these senses to locate food and to avoid its predators.

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
2 days to prepare, 10 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Mice may be purchased from a pet store
Safety concerns:

Handle the mice with care