Solitary and social play in wild Mus musculus (Mammalia)


  • Robert J. Wolff

    1. Biology Department, Tufts University, Medford, Mass. 02155, U. S. A.
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    • *Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02167, U.S.A.


Play behaviour was observed in wild caught Mus musculus housed in a semi-natural environment. The behaviour of interest (1) is very exaggerated and jerky in appearance. (2) occurs almost exclusively in highly enriched areas of the observation room, (3) disappears under stressful conditions and (4) occurs primarily in juveniles. Solitary and social play were observed. Aggressive and pouncing play were the two major types of social play seen. Juveniles were found to play with littermates significantly more often than with non-littermates but did not show a significant preference with respect to the sex of their play partners.