Voles are pedestrians, too, and need just as much help crossing the road as the big animals, says new research from the University of Alberta.
"There has been a mindset that bigger is better--driven by research on large mammals and especially bears," said Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, from the Department of Biological Sciences. "This research shows that small affordable culverts, which can be placed with high frequencies while building roads, are very effective conduits for small mammals."
The study, recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, investigated how small mammals--meadow voles, red-backed voles and deer mice--used crossing structures built across the Trans-Canada Highway. Cassady St. Clair and graduate student Wayne McDonald looked at size, vegetative cover at the entrances of the structures and the distance from home ranges to determine what kind of structures the animals would use the most.
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