Publication
Title
Evaluation of short-, mid- and long-term effects of toe clipping on a wild rodent
Author
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 2 also plausible, yet very few studies have included body condition and none have 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 those that were already clipped, but we show that this is most likely due to stress caused by being captured, clipped and handled for the first time than to the actual clipping. Conclusions. The combination of trapping, handling and marking has a detectable effect on multimammate mice, but 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 in order to reach a rational, fact-based decision on which marking method to use.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Wildlife research. - Melbourne
Publication
Melbourne : 2015
ISSN
1035-3712
Volume/pages
42:2(2015), p. 143-148
ISI
000361185800007
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Full text (open access)
Full text (publishers version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 04.12.2014
Last edited 29.04.2017
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