Keep a level head to know the way ahead: How rodents travel on inclined surfaces?

Zohar Hagbi, Elad Segev, David Eilam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animals traveling on a horizontal surface stabilize their head in relation to the substrate in order to gather spatial information and orient. What, however, do they do when traveling on an incline? We examined how three rodent species differing in motor abilities and habitats explore a platform tilted at 0–90°, hypothesizing that they would attempt to maintain bilateral vestibular cues. We found that traveling up or down was mainly straight vertically rather than diagonally, which results in identical bilateral vestibular cues. This was also achieved when traveling horizontally through rotating the head to parallel the horizontal plane. Traveling diagonally up or down was avoided, perhaps due to different bilateral vestibular cues that could hinder orientation. Accordingly, we suggest that maintaining identical bilateral cues is an orientational necessity that overrides differences in motor abilities and habitats, and that this necessity is a general characteristic of animals in motion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104424
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2022


  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Biological sciences
  • Cognitive neuroscience


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