Species composition, habitat association and altitudinal distribution of rodents and shrews were assessed in Chato Protected Area, Ethiopia, between July 2015 and March, 2016. The area was stratified into five habitats based upon dominant vegetation types and altitudinal zonation. The habitats were Carissa spinarum - Justicia schimperiana, Maytenus gracilipes, Podocarpus falcatus - Pyschotria orophila dominated habitats, riverine and plantation. A total of 254 small mammals comprising five rodent and one shrew species were live trapped from 1862 trap nights. The recorded rodent species were: Stenocephalemys albipes (40.95%), Lophuromys flavopunctatus (23.6%), Arvicanthis sp. (16.9%), Mus mahomet (13%), Mastomys natalensis (4.35%) and a shrew sp. (1.2%). Two of these rodent species (S. albipes and L. flavopunctatus) were the most abundant species that comprised 64.56% of the total; while Crocidura sp. was the least abundant distributed along the centre of the forest. Maytenus gracilipes was dominant at 1,789 -1,975 m. And was the most diverse habitat and comprised 19.39% of the trap success. Podocarpus falcatus- Pyschotria orophila was dominant from 1,975 to 2,230 m. And was diverse habitat that comprised 22.7% of the trap success. The plantation supported the least number of rodents.
Keywords: Altitudinal variation, Chato Protected Area, distribution, habitat, small mammals