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To study burrow use by small mammals, we needed to develop a simple, non-invasive radiotag for the endangered giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens). We designed and tested a radiocollar made of beaded-chain on 4 captive Heermann's kangaroo rats (D. heermanii). Attachment of the collar required no anesthesia, the collar was easily fitted in 1-2 minutes, and it caused minimal stress to the animals. Once the collar design and attachment technique were perfected on the surrogate animals, we fitted radiocollars on 48 giant kangaroo rats for about 15 days. Upon recapture, 12 animals showed some minor fur or skin abrasion on the neck. Overall, the attachment performed as expected and proved to be a reliable method to radiotrack kangaroo rats during our short-term field study.
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Beaded-chain collars: A new method to radiotag kangaroo rats for short-term studies