A surprising number of wildlife species use drainage culverts to cross beneath roadways, University of Maryland scientists reported. Some species are choosy about the type of tunnels they prefer.
Researchers documented 57 species using culverts in a statewide study commissioned by the State Highway Administration, said ecologist J. Edward Gates, of the Center for Environmental Science, who oversaw the project from the center's Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg.
Some critters are quite particular. The study found that raccoons will use any kind of tunnel but deer avoid those with cobbled floors. Eastern gray squirrels don't seem to like arch-shaped passages.
The study will help the highway administration design highways that are safer for people and animals, officials said.