use metal floor to shock a rat?

Thread Starter


Joined May 24, 2004
I'm trying to build a maze for a psychology final project and I want to be able to shock the rat at a push of a button for negative reinforcement. I would like it to be battery powered but its not all that importatn. I don't want to kill the rat but instead just let him feel it. What floor should I put in the maze? What do I need to attach to the floor to shock the rat at the push of a button? Where can I go to get these materials?


Joined Apr 20, 2004

Any chance you got an electronics shop on campus? You're trying to do a lot of fabrication.

To receive a shock, the rat must be in contact with two isolated conductiors that have some potential between them. Preferably AC in nature, or the animal might tend to galvanically lock in position and fry (ruins the experiment).

For the shock, an oscillator at a moderate frequency - say 5 kHz - can drive a small audio transformer to step up the voltage to an uncomfortable level. Using an interstage transformer also isolates the rat from electrical ground, and accidental lethal currents.

It's the voltage that drives current through the subject, so the current must be restricted to under 5 mills. At leas that's generally safe for humans. The audio transformer limits power to a couple of milliwatts, keeping things in the safe range.

But then there's the problem of the enclosure. A solid floor can't have potential differences across it. The rat can stand on any voltage in perfect confort - imagine a bird on a high voltage line. You will need to figure out how to keep the rat in contact with conductors such that it can always be shocked - this is not easy. Spacing has to be enough that most of the rat is carrying current for a good jolt.

How are your soldering/metalworking skills?


Joined Mar 21, 2004
I would suggest a metalic mesh (some thing like x axis with one pole and y axis with the other pole, ) That sort of arrangements you can c in an isect repeller.
I would say 5Khz is pretty high frequency for this purpose. Some thing close to 50-60 Hz would be better to give the rat a real vibrating shock. (poor rat :) )