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What can Voles teach us about oxytocin?

Every once in a while, certain parts of our brain make the news for one thing and the interpretations of them including sometimes absurd applications go wild. You may have heard of Oxytocin being a love hormone, so what can voles teach us about oxytocin?

Voles teach us about life mating

There are different kinds of voles that live around us. Many of them we will never deal with in our home yards, but prairie voles and montane voles love to take over our landscaping designs. Prairie voles happen to be the vole that is closest to mating for life. There are exceptions to the rule as with any population rule, but they are strong pair bonders. This is not only on account of the high oxytocin production in their brains, but also because of the numerous receptors for this hormone.

Mice following what voles teach us about oxytocin effects

In order to test the observations in voles, scientists engineered the brains of mice to have the same receptors as voles and found that the engineered mice spent more time grooming each other and huddling with familiar mice.

What this finding means for people

It turns out that this hormone has similar effects across species. It helps promote bonding practices further along the spectrum. This means that when we are petting our dogs or our cats, our brains are using the oxytocin hormone to increase bonding. It can increase social caring and even charitable acts in individuals who are already charitable and caring.

Does this mean we have to love voles?

Definitely not! Oxytocin isn’t a magical hormone that can turn anything into a love connection. It simply helps us connect more to the familiar and the things that benefit us, but if voles are using their pair bonding super powers to trash our landscaping, it is time to change the story. Oxytocin can help increase our bonds to our pets, but it decreases our cooperation with strangers. Voles are strangers when they cause problems for us. Fortunately, the vole stoppers at Rove Pest Control are ready to build a cooperative effort with you to push the overly-prolific voles out for good.