Although highly diverse (Fonseca et al. 1996), the Atlantic forest mammal fauna is still poorly known, with very few sites exhaustively inventoried or subjected to long-term studies (Passamani et al. 2000). Although the first surveys using camera traps were carried out in the 1920s (e.g. Chapman 1927), most studies are rather recent (Karanth & Nichols 1998). This is not different in Brazil, where few studies have been published (Marques & Ramos 2001, Santos-Filho & Silva 2002, Silveira et al. 2003, Trolle 2003, Trolle & Kéry 2003). Given this, the objective of this paper is to assess the efficiency of camera trapping as an inventory technique for Neotropical forests in general and Atlantic forest in particular. The study was conducted at the Santa Lúcia Biological Station (SLBS), a biologically rich Atlantic Forest preserve located in south-eastern Brazil (Mendes & Padovan 2000) where mammals have been intensively live-trapped, observed from line-transects or had indirect evidence of their presence (faeces, footprints, scratches, etc.) recorded in earlier years (Passamani et al. 2000).