Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is more and more adopted in a wide range of applicative scenarios. Nevertheless, in many applications, commercial and general-purpose solutions can be unsuitable as in the case of the tracking of small-size living animals for the behavior analysis. In such a case, the whole RFID hardware, as well as the control software, should be opportunely tailored for the particular application. In this paper, a novel RFID-based approach enabling an effective localization and tracking of small-sized laboratory animals is proposed. It is mainly based on a near-field (NF) RFID multiantenna system working in the UHF bandwidth, to be placed below the animal's cage, and able to rigorously identify the NF RFID tags implanted in laboratory animals. Once the requirements of the reader antenna have been individuated, an antenna system composed of a matrix of specifically designed segmented loops has been prototyped. Moreover, to improve the effectiveness of the whole tracking system, a properly algorithm based on the measured received signal strength indication has been developed and integrated. It aims at removing potential minor ambiguities of the data captured by the multiantenna system. The whole animal tracking system has been then largely tested on phantom mice to verify its ability to precisely localize each subject and to reconstruct its path. Additionally, a first test performed on living mice has been presented. The achieved and discussed results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.