RatSI: Rat Social Interaction Dataset

The Rat Social Interaction (RatSI) dataset comprises 9 fully annotated videos of two rats interacting socially in a 90x90cm Noldus PhenoTyper™ 9000 cage without bedding and accessories. The recordings are made from top-view perspective and are about 15 minutes long. We provide both tracking data and frame-by-frame annotations that were scored by an expert in rat behavior.

The recordings of the RatSI dataset show an open-field social interaction test. In the test, the rats encounter an unfamiliar partner and express a range of social interactions throughout the recordings.

Recordings often start with an inspection phase in which the rats repeatedly approach each other, sniff their partners and then retract. Following and grooming behavior can also be observed. Towards the end of each recording, the frequency of interactions typically decreases and more solitary behavior is seen.

For more information about the RatSI dataset, please refer to the corresponding article:

M. Lorbach; E. I. Kyriakou; R. Poppe; E. A. van Dam; L. P. J. J. Noldus & R. C. Veltkamp (2017). Learning to Recognize Rat Social Behavior: Novel Dataset and Cross-Dataset Application. Journal of Neuroscience Methods.

Annotated behavior


Chewing and licking the fur of the partner.


Moving toward the partner. The animal moves in a straight line.


Following the partner within a tail length distance.

Moving away

Moving away from the partner with at least one body length in a straight line.

Nape attacking

Snout or oral contact is directed to the neck region of the partner can be accompanied with biting and pulling fur in that region.


The animal is standing over the partner, often using its front paws, to hold the other down (pinning), while partner is lying on its back (supine position).

Social nose contact

Exploration of the partner’s body by sniffing, including anogenital region and tail.


All individual behaviors performed, e.g. rearing, self-grooming, sitting, mobile exploration.


Interactions such as boxing, kicking, wrestling, climbing over or crawling under the partner.


Ambiguous and otherwise undefined behavior.

Technical Details

Number of videos


Total duration

135 min

Total download size

3.8 Gb

Video resolution

576 x 576

Frame rate

25 fps

Image format

8-bit, monochrome (near-infrared lighting)




3-point tracking (nose, center of mass and tail-base)
Tracking is performed by an algorithm specialized for the given setup which is not released as part of the EthoVision XT series yet. Identity errors have been corrected manually.


Naive male rats, 9 months, of two genotypes were used: SCA17 (n=8) and Sprague Dawley (n=10)

For technical questions please contact Elsbeth van Dam.

The dataset is free to use for non-commercial purposes. Fill in the form below to request the dataset.

Request the RatSi dataset

Full name *

Email address *

Optional: Phone

Country *

Organization *

Please provide a description of your project *

Conditions for download and usage: *

  • Datasets are for academic and non-commercial use only.

  • When referring to this set in publications, Noldus Information Technology bv should be mentioned as owner of these data and the following article should be cited: M. Lorbach, E. I. Kyriakou, R. Poppe, E. A. van Dam, L. P. J. J. Noldus, and R. C. Veltkamp, “Learning to Recognize Rat Social Behavior: Novel Dataset and Cross-Dataset Application,” Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2017.

  • The datasets are available free of charge.

  • Noldus cannot offer support on usage of these data.

Privacy policy *