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Before I start, this isn't so much a riddle as it requires knowledge of the things used in it :3

A scientist has a rat and a mouse. He has created a maze for them to do.

The scientist observes the shy mouse, and the playful rat.

He places the mouse in first, and the mouse walks through the maze with timid care.

He then places the rat, who runs through the maze joyfully, checking every corner and licking every interesting crumb.

The scientist puts them away in the boxes, and goes to bed.

In the morning, the mouse is dead. The scientist questions this, because the mouse went through the maze first. The rat looks sad.

What happened to the mouse? This is a riddle based on specification, so read carefully!

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there something special about the boxes the mouse and rat spend the night in? i.e. do they have air holes, food, water, etc.? $\endgroup$
    – Phylyp
    Feb 6, 2018 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ Did the mouse die of starvation? The rat ate crumbs and mouse didn't. $\endgroup$
    – ABcDexter
    Feb 6, 2018 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ Many people hate rats and mice and death especially together. I don't even mind them but this was too dark. Maybe try a more uplifting theme as I didn't even enjoy reading this. $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Feb 11, 2019 at 22:42

7 Answers 7

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I know this has been answered already, but I think this is just as valid an answer. So there.

This is because

The "mouse" was actually a micromouse! A micromouse is a robot which is specifically programmed to clear randomly-built mazes, a sort of code golf in the physical realm. A micromouse runs on batteries, and because our scientist forgot to replace them, the batteries (and thus the mouse) was dead!

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  • $\begingroup$ Haha, random, but funny :3 And not as dark $\endgroup$
    – Suika999
    Feb 6, 2018 at 6:45
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There was some poisonous substance on the floor of the maze.
By going through it timidly (hence slowly), the mouse ended up absorbing what amounted to a lethal dose through its feet.
On the other hand, the rat went through the maze energetically and didn't absorb as much. Also, the quantity of poison would have been diminished by the mouse running ahead of it.

One might even say that:

With the amount the rat did absorb, it is feeling some ill effects as it is no longer playful and energetic (the poison has taken the edge off the rat).

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    $\begingroup$ Nice answer Phylyp, it's not the correct answer but I love it anyway! $\endgroup$
    – Suika999
    Feb 6, 2018 at 5:21
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There are several possible reasons I can think of that haven't yet been posted:

1)

The mouse and the rat spent the night together; being bigger, energetic, and very playful, the rat tried to play with the shy mouse, and accidentally broke him. Thus, this left the rat sad and without a playmate.

2)

Since (at the time of posting) the question specifies that the "scientist puts them away in the boxes" - note plural boxes, one the box that the mouse was in clearly had some external factor that caused it to die, whereas the rats box didn't.

3)

This is a better version of Doomenik's answer; it plays on a similar aspect. The mouse went into the maze first, and ate poisoned food, leaving behind crumbs. Since the rat didn't eat any crumbs, and only licked them (detecting for poison or whatnot), the rat didn't die, while the mouse did. The rat ends up sad because she's either hungry (couldn't even eat the crumbs, they're poisoned), or her friend mouse is dead.

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  • $\begingroup$ The rat was sad because they're incredibly social :3 So second reason for being sad is a yes, rats can die of depression when their roomate/littermate dies, and yes, rats will in fact lick or take a small bite out of new food and wait to see if they get sick :3 I just fed mine watermelon, but that was so yummy they just started eating without testing it $\endgroup$
    – Suika999
    Feb 6, 2018 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Suika999 So did I get it right or was I wrong? $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Feb 6, 2018 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ I put the answer somewhere around here $\endgroup$
    – Suika999
    Feb 6, 2018 at 8:37
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Possibly the mouse starved to death...

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! (Take the Tour!) Could you please explain why you believe this is the answer? Answers without explanation are generally deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Feb 6, 2018 at 7:37
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The answer is a little bit like Phylyp´s.

The scientist put some kind of food(cheese) at the end of the maze. Normaly the rat would have found it faster but the mouse got in the maze sooner. This way the mouse found and ate the cheese. The mouse is dead because the cheese was poisened or rotten (Was placed some trials before and the scientist simply forgot it). The rat is sad because she didn´t found it.

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Another answer, building on the fact that

the rat licked crumb and not the mouse.

Here it goes:

The rat and the mouse were both given slow poison before being put in the maze, and only the rat licked crumb that contained an antidote that saved him. The mouse being shy did not take the antidote and therefore died of poisoning.

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The answer is this!

Mice and rats, though similar, have one problem when together. Rat Bite Fever, which affects humans, can cause septicemia in mice easily. The mouse walked through the maze before the rat, yes, but it was never specified where they were kept. They were kept in the same box, where the rat licked the mouse constantly to groom them, but the mouse died from the rat's bacteria.

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  • $\begingroup$ "in the boxes", seems like multiple boxes but a very interesting answer :D $\endgroup$
    – Doomenik
    Feb 6, 2018 at 5:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Suika999 Please go through this post on meta once which tells about self-answering :) $\endgroup$
    – ABcDexter
    Feb 6, 2018 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Suika999 Don't worry. We live and learn. :) $\endgroup$
    – Lawrence
    Feb 6, 2018 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ Wait, really? In a riddle we're told is " based on specification, so read carefully!" and in which we're told "The scientist puts them away in the boxes", the answer relies on a completely unhinted factor affecting the critters because, completely contrary to the plain reading of the text, they are put in the same box? That doesn't seem at all fair or satisfying a solution. Xenocacia's solution is more clever than this one, and Aify's #3 is a far more satisfying solution that uses the information we're given without pulling extra factors out of thin air. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Feb 6, 2018 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Suika999 Relevant: xkcd.com/169 $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Feb 6, 2018 at 8:11

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