Growth-related changes in the mechanical properties of collagen fascicles (approximately 300 microm in diameter) were studied using patellar tendons obtained from skeletally immature 1 and 2 months old and matured 6 months old rabbits. Tensile properties were determined using a specially designed micro-tensile tester. In each age group, there were no significant differences in the properties among cross-sectional locations in the tendon. Tangent modulus and tensile strength significantly increased with age; the rates of their increases between 1 and 2 months were higher than those between 2 and 6 months. The tangent modulus and tensile strength were positively correlated with the body weight of animals. However, growth-related changes in the mechanical properties were different between collagen fascicles and bulk patellar tendons, which may be attributable to such non-collagenous components as ground substances and also to mechanical interactions between collagen fascicles.