Small mammal collection

The small mammal collection forms part of the larger TM and AZ accessioned mammal collections that were combined in the late 1990’s. The TM accessioned mammal collection dates back almost to the start of the Transvaal Museum in 1901. The AZ accessioned mammals are from what was an independent collection that began in 1976 to provide comparative material for zooarchaeological analysis, TM and AZ being the prefixes used together with the unique numbers assigned to each specimen incorporated into the collection.

The small mammal collection covers the orders Afrosoricidae, Eulipotyphla, Macroscelidea, Chiroptera, Rodentia, Carnivora (in part), Hyracoidea, Primates (in part), and Lagomorpha. There are also specimens of Carnivora and Primates in the large mammal collection. The specimens are largely representative of South African and to some extent southern African species, with a small number of species extra-limital to this area for comparative purposes. The form of the specimens charts the tradition of specimen preparation over time, in that the older collection is largely dried skins and skulls, with far fewer specimens in alcohol. More recently entire skeletons are also being kept dried, and more specimens of certain taxa, i.e. Chiroptera, are being prepared with the body in alcohol and the skull extracted and cleaned.

The collection also contains some extracted foetuses in alcohol, and bacula in glycerine. Tissue materials extracted prior to the preparation of specimens are currently being stored and managed by BioBank SA. Requests for access to this material should be made to Prof Paul Bartels (Wildlife Biological Resource Centre / BioBankSA, National Zoological Gardens of SA, 082 990-3533, 082 990-3533,

An integral part of each specimen is the information / provenance associated with it, i.e. its identification and sex, and when, where and by whom it was caught. Some specimens also have additional information relating to reproductive condition, external dimensions and habitat. This information is recorded across a number of different data sources, i.e. catalogue books, specimen labels, and index cards, but has not always been consistently captured throughout the history of the collection. The information from the catalogue was captured in an electronic format in the early 1990’s, and is available via SABIF, or on request from the curator, using this request form. With the recent migration of the data to Specify it is hoped more of the information associated with specimens will be captured electronically.

Bona fide requests for access / visits to the collection should be made to the curator. Visitors using the collection are requested to sign the visitor’s procedure form. Bona fide loans from the collection may also be requested from the curator. No sampling from specimens is allowed without first having applied using the sampling request form, and received permission from, the curator.

Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural HistoryThe Ditsong National Museum of Natural History formerly known as the Transvaal Museum was founded as the Staatsmuseum of the ZAR on the 1st of December 1892.

And it has, since then acted as custodian and documentation centre of South Africa’s natural heritage.The Museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples [the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind]; fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. On these collections are based the Museum’s educational programmes, research is done and information is communicated to all people of South Africa as well as to the international community.

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History is the only natural history museum in Gauteng and one of the largest in South Africa. It is unique in that it is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national and international community the opportunity to view its collections including original fossil material usually denied the public.


Educational Programmes

A comprehensive series of programmes and conducted tours is offered to schools, students and tourists in various South African languages. All education programmes are aligned to CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement). Booking is essential to participate in these activities. Please use e-mail to contact us while our phone system is being upgraded –

Discovery Centre

A hands-on activity centre, where the five human senses are used to discover the wonders of nature, offering an invaluable educational adventure. It affords easy access for wheelchairs and display texts are also transcribed in Braille. This centre is ideal for younger learners that are eager to explore with their hands.

Public Programmes

Throughout the year talks are held at the Museum by various established researchers and scientists. Please check back regularly with the “Upcoming events” page or contact the Public Programmes Department.

Museum View


The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History researchers, as well as scientists from other institutions doing research can submit scientific papers to the annals. The major publications are the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Monograph series.

The Museum has exchange agreements with a large number of scientific institutions, both abroad and in South Africa and 342 copies of the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and 280 copies of the Monographs of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History are distributed annually. Up to 2010 the annals were known as the Annals of the Transvaal Museum. For quality control of documents, articles, news releases and reports, please contact: Dr Martin Krüger at

 Admission Fees

Prices for Adults, Learners, Senior Citizens and Discovery Centre


R40.00 p/p
Children (Accompanied by parents)
R20.00 p/p
SA Senior Citizens
R20.00 p/p
Students (guided tour)
Students (own tour)
R25.00 p/p
R20.00 p/p
Free Entry for Educator: per group of 30 learners
R20.00 p/p
Free Entry for Educator: per group of 30 learners
R20.00 p/p
Discovery Centre
R25.00 p/p
Behind the scenes tour
R50.00 p/p
Night tour
R150.00 p/p
Discovery + Museum
R40.00 p/p
Guided tour
Additional R5 to approporiate tariff

Contact Information

Physical Address:
432 Paul Kruger Street Pretoria 0001

GPS Coordinates:
S 25° 45’ 11.2” E 28° 11’ 21.6”

Contact numbers:
012 492 1358
012 492 5708 – from March 2018
Admission: Daily:
08:00 – 16:00
(Except Christmas Day and Good Friday)

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