A skeletal comparison of selected small mammals

Mandibles of a rabbit, hedgehog, weasel, mole, squirrel, rat, vole, mouse and shrew!

A few months ago I created a skeletal comparison of Dog, Fox, Badger and Cat bones, and in a similar vein I’ve been recently been working on a skeletal comparison of small mammals. When I was working on a site in Wales that probably had an owl nesting there during its disuse I realised how useful it would be to have a digital guide for quick reference when a small mammal bone needed identifying. Many mostly-fruitless hours of searching on the internet later I decided to put aside all the small mammal bones and take them back to Exeter to use the zooarchaeological reference collection there. During the identification process I made this guide for personal use and, considering how well-received my other comparative skeletal study was, I thought I would disseminate it for anyone to use!

The comparison can be found in pdf form here:

Johnson, E.V. (2016). A skeletal comparison of selected small mammals

The species that I cover in this skeletal comparison are in the table below.

European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Red Squirrel
Sciurus vulgaris
Brown Rat
Rattus norvegicus
Common Shrew
Sorex araneus
European Hedgehog
Erinaceus europaeus
Mustela nivalis
European Water Vole
Arvicola amphibious
Water Shrew
Neomys fodiens
Talpa europaea
Wood Mouse
Apodemus sylvaticus
Bank Vole
Myodes glareolus



4 thoughts on “A skeletal comparison of selected small mammals

  1. This is fabulous! I’m currently working on transforming my own notes into something useful for my students/volunteers… would you mind if I borrowed some of your ideas?

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