WATCH | Stuart Little in real life? These rodents have been trained to 'drive' to cope with stress and they love it!

<i>Image: Euro News</i>
<i>Image: Euro News</i>

Much like the little white mouse who climbed into our hearts with his tiny red car in Stuart Little, so too have some of his cousins in the US.

Rats might not be much-liked by humans but they are smart little creatures, and scientists from the University of Richmond, Virginia, trained them to drive small cars.

SEE | Everything you need to know about stress

According to the BBC, Dr Kelly Lambert and her colleagues built a tiny electric car, also known as a Rodent Operated Vehicle (ROV), by attaching a clear plastic jar to an aluminium plate, fitted to a set of wheels. To drive the car, a rat would sit on the aluminium plate and touch the copper wire.

Mobile rodents

The test was conducted to gauge and monitor the rodent's stress levels through the collection of fecal matter as they taught themselves how to navigate the 'car'. Results showed increased dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the hormone that combats stress. These little rodents absolutely love it and they are much happier. Not all driving has to be stressful after all.

READ | A game of cat and mouse: Driver captures scared kitty riding on top of a van

Collective results of the test will be able to give scientists a better understanding of anxiety and depression in humans.

Compiled by: Robin Classen

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