Domestic animals tend to develop an aversion to dirt, according to a new study that finds their more wild counterparts aren't nearly as clean.
The study, published in the journal Animal Behavior, points out how tough- and gross- life can be outside of domesticated comfort.
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"Domesticated animals generally avoid feces to reduce the chance of parasitic infection, but this study shows that wild animals are more concerned with the risk of starvation than with table manners, taking any opportunity to feed," co-author Patrick Walsh of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, was quoted as saying in a press release.
He added, "They may even associate feces with safety – a spot where a mouse has lived long enough to nest and poo is probably pretty safe – and that is worth the risk of disease."
Walsh and his colleagues focused their study on two types of wild mice in Virginia. The scientists collected some of the scrappy rodents from a woodland area and placed them in a box for a few hours. They gave the mice the option of being close to mouse poo, or not. A similar experiment was conducted with new and soiled nesting material.