Sokoine University of Agriculture

Evaluation of short-, mid- and long-term effects of toe clipping on a wild rodent

Show simple item record Leirs, H. Makundi, Rhodes H. Sluydts, V. Borremans, B. 2018-11-16T05:11:06Z 2018-11-16T05:11:06Z 2015
dc.identifier.issn 1035-3712
dc.description Wildlife Research, 2015; 42(2):143-148 en_US
dc.description.abstract Context. Toe clipping is a widely used method for permanent marking of small mammals, but its effects are not well known, despite the ethical and scientific implications. Most studies do not find any clear effects, but there is some indication that toe clipping can affect survival in specific cases. Although effects on survival are arguably the most important, more subtle effects are also plausible, yet very few studies have included body condition and none has investigated effects on mobility. Aims. We analysed the effects of toe clipping on free-living Mastomys natalensis, a common, morphologically and behaviourally intermediate small rodent. Methods. Using a 17-year capture–mark–recapture dataset, we compared movement, body weight and survival between newly and previously clipped animals, and tested whether any of these parameters correlated with the number of clipped toes. Key results. No evidence for a correlation between total number of clips and any of the variables was found. Newly clipped animals had a slightly smaller weight change and larger travel distance than did those that were already clipped, and we show that this is most likely due to stress caused by being captured, clipped and handled for the first time rather than to the actual clipping. Conclusions. The combination of trapping, handling and marking has a detectable effect on multimammate mice; however, there is no evidence for a clear effect of toe clipping. Implications. Our study suggests a re-evaluation of ethical guidelines on small-mammal experiments, so as to reach a rational, fact-based decision on which marking method to use. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Wildlife Research en_US
dc.subject Animal ethics en_US
dc.subject Animal welfare en_US
dc.subject Individual identification en_US
dc.subject Mastomys natalensis en_US
dc.subject Permanent marking en_US
dc.subject Survival en_US
dc.subject Capture–mark–recapture en_US
dc.title Evaluation of short-, mid- and long-term effects of toe clipping on a wild rodent en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.url en_US

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