Cutting the carnage: wildlife usage of road culverts in north-eastern New South Wales

  • Published source details Taylor B.D. & Goldingay R.L. (2003) Cutting the carnage: wildlife usage of road culverts in north-eastern New South Wales. Wildlife Research, 30, 529-537.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Install culverts or tunnels as road crossings

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation

Install barrier fencing and underpasses along roads

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Install culverts or tunnels as road crossings

    A replicated study in 2000–2001 of nine wildlife culverts with barrier fencing along a highway through coastal lowlands in New South Wales, Australia (Taylor & Goldingay 2003) found that all culverts were used by amphibians. Amphibian tracks made up 14% of those in culverts. Cane toads Bufo marinus were observed inside culverts nine times. Twelve additional species were recorded within 2–20 m of entrances. Fifty-five frog (brown-striped frog Limnodynastes peronii, dainty green tree frog Litoria gracilenta) and two cane toad carcasses and 14 live frogs were recorded on the road on one night. The concrete culverts (2.4 m wide, 1.2 m high, 18 m long) lay along a 1.4 km section of highway. A chain-mesh barrier fence (1.8 m high) was installed either side of the bypass. Each culvert was walked through with a spotlight on two wet and two dry nights in January-February 2001. Tracks were recorded on sand across culverts every two days over eight days in spring and autumn. Frog calls were also recorded at entrances.


  2. Install barrier fencing and underpasses along roads

    A study in 2000–2001 in coastal lowlands in New South Wales, Australia (Taylor & Goldingay 2003) found that concrete wildlife culverts, in areas with roadside fencing, were used by small and medium-sized mammals. Mammal tracks made up 82% of all vertebrate tracks recorded. These were made by bandicoots Perameloidea (25% of all tracks), rats (25%), wallabies (13%), mice Muridae (10%), feral cat Felis catus (<2%) and red foxes Vulpes vulpes (<2%). Koala Phascolarctos cinereus tracks were recorded twice. In cage traps, house mouse Mus musculus (29 individuals) and swamp rat Rattus lutreolus (16 individuals) were the most common among six species (67 individuals) caught. Nine concrete culverts along a 2.5-km section of highway were monitored. They were 2.4 m wide, 1.2 m high and 18 m long. A 1.8-m-high fence ran along either side of the road. Tracks were recorded on sand in culverts from 22–30 September 2000 and 1–9 December 2000. Between 15 and 17 cage traps were set in and next to each culvert on four nights in September 2000 (560 trap-nights).

    (Summarised by: Rebecca K. Smith)

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