A sample of 535 small mammals, caught over a range of altitudes from 1500 to 4000 m in the Bale Mountains, on various expeditions from December 1971 to August 1986, enables the altitudinal zonation of the species to be delimited. The most abundant species, Lophuromys flavopunctatus, ranged from near the lower tree line at 1550 m, right up through the forested zones and onto the Afro-alpine moorland at 3900 m. The endemic Praomys albipes also ranged through the forest from 1550 to 3200 m, but was replaced in open habitats between 2400 and 3900 m by Stenocephalemys griseicauda and between 3000 and 4000 m by S. albocaudata, which was relatively more abundant than its congener at higher altitudes. Other moorland species, including Crocidura fumosa, Otomys typus, Lophuromys melanonyx and Arvicanthis blicki were also commonest at 3800–4000 m, but, like the Stenocephalemys spp., penetrated to lower altitudes in open habitats. Mus mahomet was confined to lower altitudes (1510–3000 m) and open habitats, apparently replaced by Mus triton, not previously recorded from Ethiopia, in forested habitats at middle altitudes (1950–2400 m).