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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
midcage (NASA 1988). Rats and mice generally prefer cages with low light intensity (Blom et al. 1996), and albino rats prefer areas with a light intensity of less than 25 lux (Schlingmann et al. 1993a). Young mice prefer much lower illumination than adults (Wax 1977). For animals that have been shown to be susceptible to phototoxic retinopathy, light should be between 130 and 325 lux in the room at cage level.
Light intensity decreases with the square of the distance from its source. Thus the location of a cage on a rack affects the intensity of light to which the animals within are exposed. Light intensity may differ as much as 80-fold in transparent cages from the top to the bottom of a rack, and differences up to 20-fold have been recorded within a cage (Schlingmann et al. 1993a,b). Management practices, such as rotating cage position relative to the light source (Greenman et al. 1982) or providing animals with ways to control their own light exposure by behavioral means (e.g., nesting or bedding material adequate for tunneling), can reduce inappropriate light stimulation. Variable-intensity lights are often used to accommodate the needs of research protocols, certain animal species, and energy conservation. However, such a system should also provide for the observation and care of the animals. Caution should be exercised as increases in daytime room illumination for maintenance purposes have been shown to change photoreceptor physiology and can alter circadian regulation (NRC 1996; Reme et al. 1991; Terman et al. 1991).
Noise and Vibration
Noise produced by animals and animal care activities is inherent in the operation of an animal facility (Pfaff and Stecker 1976) and noise control should be considered in facility design and operation (Pekrul 1991). Assessment of the potential effects of noise on an animal warrants consideration of the intensity, frequency, rapidity of onset, duration, and vibration potential of the sound and the hearing range, noise exposure history, and sound effect susceptibility of the species, stock, or strain. Similarly, occupational exposure to animal or animal care practices that generate noise may be of concern for personnel and, if of sufficient intensity, may warrant hearing protection.
Separation of human and animal areas minimizes disturbances to both human and animal occupants of the facility. Noisy animals, such as dogs, swine, goats, nonhuman primates, and some birds (e.g., zebra finches), should be housed away from quieter animals, such as rodents, rabbits, and cats. Environments should be designed to accommodate animals that make noise rather than resorting to methods of noise reduction. Exposure to sound louder than 85 dB can have both auditory and nonauditory effects (Fletcher 1976; Peterson 1980)—for example, eosinopenia, increased adrenal gland weights, and reduced fertility in rodents (Geber et al. 1966; Nayfield and