The role of fauna underpasses in New South Wales

  • Published source details Norman T., Finegan A. & Lean B. (1998) The role of fauna underpasses in New South Wales. Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference on Wildlife Ecology and Transportation, Florida Department of Transportation, Tallahassee, Florida USA, 195-208.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Install tunnels/culverts/underpasses under roads/railways

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Install tunnels/culverts/underpass under roads

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Install tunnels/culverts/underpasses under roads/railways

    A replicated study in 1996–1997 along three roadside verges in New South Wales, Australia (Norman et al. 1998) found that road underpasses were used by three lizard species and one snake species. Over nine months, two of three underpasses were used by eastern water dragons Physignathus lesueurii (3 photographs, tracks observed in one underpass) and eastern water skinks Eulamprus quoyii (3 photographs, tracks observed in two underpasses). One of the underpasses was used by lace monitor Varanus varius (8 photographs, tracks and scats observed) and diamond python Morelia spilota ssp. spilota (one photograph). In mid-August 1996 to mid-June 1997, a camera with an infrared trigger was set in three different underpasses of different sizes and design on a highway. A 1 m wide sand tray was also placed in each underpass. The authors note that animals that were small enough to avoid triggering the camera may not have been consistently recorded.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Install tunnels/culverts/underpass under roads

    A study in 1996–1997 along a highway in New South Wales, Australia (Norman et al. 1998) found that mammals used three underpasses. Between three and nine native mammal species used each of the tunnels. Common wombat Vombatus ursinus, swamp wallaby Wallabia bicolor, rats (Rattus fuscipes, Rattus lutreolus) and bandicoots (Perameles nasuta, Isoodon macrourus) were the most frequently recorded. Four non-native species also used underpasses. The greatest number of species was recorded in the largest underpass, but the smallest underpass had the greatest frequency of use. A total of 43 native and 57 introduced mammals were killed on the road during the survey. Three underpasses (diameters: 1.5–10 m) were monitored from August 1996 to June 1997. Infra-red camera traps, track counts (sand 2 m inside entrances), trapping and nocturnal searches were used. Road-kill data were also collected.

    (Summarised by: Rebecca K. Smith)

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