Paw preference in rats

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2002;13(1):41-9. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp.2002.13.1.41.


We applied a food-reaching test to investigate paw preference in 114 Spraque-Dawley rats and to determine whether a correlation exists between paw preference and gender. We found that 70.2% of rats were right-pawed, 19.3% were left-pawed, and 11.9% were ambidextrous. No significant difference was found between right-pawed, left-pawed, and ambidextrous male and female rats. The results indicate that the distribution of paw preference in rats is similar to that of other animals and to human handedness.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Forelimb / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sex Factors