Sheftel B.I.

RJEE Vol. 3 (3). 2018 | DOI: 10.21685/2500-0578-2018-3-4
Abstract | PDF (Rus) | Additional files

Receipt date 9.07.2018 | Publication date 26.09.2018


B. I. Sheftel
A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 33 Leninsky pr., 119071, Moscow, Russia


Abstract. In this review we summarize the methods of estimating the abundance of small mammals. All methods are grouped into four main categories: 1) methods based on the capture of animals without their subsequent return to nature; 2) “Capture-recapture” methods, under which the information on the population density is obtained via the recapture of marked animals. Marking of animals can by performed by toe-clipping, ear marks, and other means; 3) single capture and marking of animals by radioactive isotopes, transmitters, microchips or fur coloration. Animals are not recaptured, as the information is collected by visual observations or specific tools. The data obtained through these methods (area of the habitat, distance of migration, etc.) could be used for estimating the abundance of animals; 4) indirect methods of estimating the abundance, which are not related to the capture of animals. The density and species composition of animals are estimated on the basis of the number of animal tracks, inhabited burrows, castings of birds of prey and other indicators. The review pays special attention to the development of new methods over the past 15 – 20 years. The ethical problems arising during scientific work with small mammals in the wild are also discussed.


Key words: small mammals, estimating abundance, snap trap, ditch with pitfalls, marking of animals, Longworth’s trap, Sherman’s trap, Shchipanov’s trap, radiotelemetry, chipping, bioethics.


For citation: Sheftel B.I. Metods for estimating the abundence of small mammals. Russian Journal of Ecosystem Ecology. 2018;3(3). (In Russ.). Available from: