Field immobilization of American martens (Martes americana) and short-tailed weasels (Mustela erminea).

Research paper by J L JL Belant

Indexed on: 01 Oct '92Published on: 01 Oct '92Published in: Journal of wildlife diseases


Ketamine hydrochloride (KH) and a 5:1 combination of KH and xylazine hydrochloride (XH) were used successfully to immobilize short-tailed weasels (Mustela erminea) and American martens (Martes americana), respectively. Four adult male martens were intramuscularly injected with 30 to 82 mg/kg KH and 8.0 to 16.4 mg/kg XH. Three adult male short-tailed weasels were intramuscularly injected with 20.8 to 42.1 mg/kg KH. Mean (+/- SE) induction times for martens and short-tailed weasels were 1.8 +/- 0.2 min and 46 +/- 4.1 sec, respectively; recovery times were 100.4 +/- 19.3 min and 97.9 +/- 6.3 min, respectively. Heart rate was relatively constant among martens; however, respiration varied widely (21 to 122 breaths per minute). Marten body temperature decreased between 0 and 20 min post-recumbency. Short-tailed weasel heart rate and respiration decreased in response to sedation until slightly before arousal. Body temperature stabilized by 20 min post-recumbency. Two short-tailed weasels tremored slightly within 10 min of arousal. I conclude that KH and KH/XH are safe immobilizing agents for martens and short-tailed weasels, respectively.